Even some agriculture professionals don’t have much of a clue about how to interpret wheat basis levels offered at country elevators. | Michelle Houlden illustration

Calculating wheat basis may require some homework

Tyler Russell saw something he didn’t like when he looked out at the crowd of farmers he was talking to about wheat basis levels. “You could just tell there was confusion,” Russell, who is manager of Cargill Canada’s network of crop marketing advisers and farmer risk management, said about meetings he held with farmers last […] Read more

Japan is the United States’ top market for beef. Canada was once its best customer, but demand has dropped dramatically.  | File photo

Beef growth comes from new markets

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The U.S. beef industry has made a remarkable 10 year turnaround in global markets. Last year it exported $7.13 billion worth of beef to 100 countries, which was a 16 percent increase over the 2013 record. “The fact that the demand for beef internationally is a double digit figure is significant,” […] Read more

The cattle marketing levy funds industry research, marketing, lobbying and trade negotiations that improve profits and provide export opportunities for the industry.  |  File photo

Cattle industry buoyed by check-off dollars

The Aug. 31 deadline to file for a cattle marketing levy refund has passed for another year in Saskatchewan. It may tempting to get that money back, especially when a producer organization may stand for things that are counter to your beliefs. However, fully appreciating the value of the cattle checkoff requires reflection on each […] Read more


Analysts aren’t forecasting big changes in the current wide basis levels and congested grain handling system, meaning farmers might as well start pricing the 2014 crop.  |  File photo

Farmers advised to shop crop around

Prices changing daily | Delivery opportunities can pop up one day and close the same day

BRANDON — Get marketing but also get shopping, adviser Brenda Tjaden Lepp of FarmLink Marketing Solutions told farmers at Manitoba Ag Days. There’s no reason to hold back from moving old crop and contracting delivery for new crop, but farmers shouldn’t just take whatever bid their usual buyer is offering. “You’ve got to shop around […] Read more

Rail car shortages are creating extreme basis at opposite ends of supply chain.  |  File photo

Shortages seen despite bumper crop

Railway congestion | Extreme price spreads are the result of supply and demand challenges

For once, outrageous basis levels are nailing farmers and grain companies at the same time. Prairie farmers are paying big negative basis levels when they deliver grain to elevators, but some of those companies are having to pay huge positive basis levels to buy spring wheat for customers that they can’t supply. “It’s crazy,” Austin […] Read more


Farmers learn to tweet, blog to promote business

More than 100 farmers and ranchers gathered at a hotel in downtown Kansas City in late August for two days of workshops and speeches. However, the producers didn’t travel to western Missouri to hear about the agronomics or economics of agriculture. They were there to learn about blogging, Twitter and Facebook. The producers attended the […] Read more

Social media allows a small agricultural group like Farm & Food Care, which has 2,500 followers on Twitter, to take on powerful lobbyists who want to modify food production policies in North America.

The new clout of social media

Digital marketing matters | People discuss products, share opinions through Twitter, Facebook

Kelly Daynard didn’t understand the value or relevance of Twitter when it first exploded into popular culture, but that all changed three years ago when she watched an episode of Oprah. In her role as communications manager for Farm & Food Care Ontario, which has the mandate of providing credible agricultural information, Daynard monitors food […] Read more

Welcome to a new era of marketing freedom

Somehow I just couldn’t share the Aug. 1 euphoria. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not among the crowd who thinks the sky is falling with the ending of the CWB monopoly. The old system had a lot of problems. However, marketing freedom won’t always be a bed of roses either. Friends texting me from the […] Read more


Despite offers, CWB isn’t for sale, says Ritz

The federal government is not interested in selling the CWB, at least not yet. But that doesn’t mean that Ottawa hasn’t received any offers. Federal agriculture minister Gerry Ritz said a number of companies have already expressed interest in acquiring the assets of the former Canadian Wheat Board. “We’ve already had a couple of entities […] Read more

Farmers who decide to market their crops through the CWB this year will receive about 75 percent of the forecasted final pool value as the CWB tries to encourage farmers to use its programs.  |  File photo

CWB to pay farmers more up-front money

Initial payments boosted | New cash-out option is an attempt to increase cash flow from CWB pools

Farmers who market their crops through the CWB after Aug. 1 will receive a bigger up-front payment for the grain they deliver. The wheat board announced last week that it will boost initial payments in the 2012-13 crop year and offer farmers a new cash-out option. The moves are an attempt to improve farmer cash […] Read more