The current failure of the grain transportation system and the threats to some of our most important markets underline why farmers can’t back off from forcing critical infrastructure to carry extra capacity.  |  File photo

Canada-EU trade deal more important than ever

A couple years ago, when Canada was working hard to complete the Canada-European Union trade deal, a lot of people within farming and agriculture were skeptical. After all, everybody knew that the Europeans were never going to accept two-way trade, so we were probably just getting played for fools, said many skeptics. A couple of […] Read more

The supply and demand situation won’t be helped if the recent rise in canola prices lasts a few more weeks and farmers seed a couple of hundred thousand extra acres of canola.  | File photo

Farmers who eye canola rally should consider price protection

Farmers have been given a gift for this last little bit of pre-seeding. They’ve also been handed a chance for fresh risk, if they’re that sort of guy. It all comes from the canola market rallying about 50 cents a bushel since midwinter, especially in terms of profitability. It comes from a nice little follow-on […] Read more

The world market for prairie commodities such as canola is getting less friendly these days.  |  File photo

Market access continuing problem for canola industry

Farmers like to have excuses to head down south to warmer climes in the winter. Heck, almost all Canadians do. That’s the driving force behind holding all sorts of North American winter agriculture conferences in resort locations in the southern third of the United States every year, including that of the Canola Council of Canada, […] Read more

VIDEO: Former PM urges Ottawa to take tough stance with NAFTA

Know what’s in your grain contracts and make sure they protect and reward you as much as they protect and reward the buyer. That was advice from a seasoned sunflower marketer, speaking at CropConnect, to farmers thinking about contracting the crop. It makes a lot of sense because farmers can end up on the delivery […] Read more

Check out risk vs. reward on crop choices

Small profitability for most western Canadian crops and losses for others: that’s the bottom line outlook from Manitoba Agriculture’s farm management team. It highlights the need for farmers to take their production and marketing math seriously in these times of narrow margins. That’s especially true because the underlying risks in many of the crops are […] Read more

New cash market information and marketing services available online provide farmers with the tools needed for price discovery in the post-CWB world.  |  William Dekay photo

Thriving cash market survives wheat board demise

This year felt like the year the prairie cash grain market came of age. As with all situations of life, growth and aging, this one contains elements that have flourished and prospered and those that have weakened and died. While marketing platforms, marketing advisers and price competition grew more transparent and robust, some post-Canadian Wheat […] Read more

There’s a real risk that Statistics Canada will further reduce its crucial production of agricultural stats as different interests fight for favour within the federal government, as spending cuts become a government focus and as the dreamy possibilities of our digital age distract the agency from doing boring old surveys.
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Time to speak up for Statistics Canada

It’s time to stop taking Statistics Canada for granted and to show it a little love. It’s also time to let your members of Parliament, your farm organization leaders and your fellow farmers know just how important the agency is for agriculture. There’s a real risk that Statistics Canada will further reduce its crucial production […] Read more

Weather disasters often offer a short price rally window. |  Getty photo

Weather-generated flash rallies requires quick action

Farmers might be frustrated when major negative weather events fail to stimulate lasting price rallies, but they should learn to value the opportunities generated by weather rallies that are too good to last. That’s what we saw with the recent wheat market rally ignited by the snowstorm and heavy rain that hit the southern U.S. […] Read more

Clubroot infected fields can become unworkable for canola, forcing growers to switch to less profitable crops.  |  File photo

Desperately seeking profit may lead to disaster

Canola is many farmers’ biggest moneymaker, and good crop rotation is many farmers’ best financial hedge. However, those two factors have collided in a way that is undermining not only individual farmers’ security but also those of their neighbours, and even the future of the canola industry itself. For two decades, I’ve heard agronomists urge […] Read more

Thoughts, theories, lots of questions for 2017

This is the traditional time for lists of things likely or possible to happen in the coming year, so here are mine for 2017’s agricultural markets: I throw this in here because it could actually happen and because most of the rest of my list is dismal. If world growth begins grinding higher, that will […] Read more