Latest articles


Comment: Bring back the PFRA

Soil conservation in Canada has been losing ground despite a general feeling erosion is a problem of the past

Some say it saved Western Canada. But the Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration, perhaps the most respected government agency in Canada’s history, was dissolved in 2003. It’s time to bring it back. Scientific principles are one thing. Encouraging farmers to use them are another — that requires expertise in ‘extension,’ a word which has unfortunately fallen […] Read more


As of March 31 Chinese canola imports well ahead of last year

Increased Canadian exports so far but Chinese oilseed and feed demand is plunging due to African swine fever

Despite reports of China suspending purchases from some exporters, its imports of Canadian canola as of March 31 are well ahead of same period last crop year crop, as are its imports of soybeans and wheat. Meanwhile, in a report last Friday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture again reduced its Chinese oilseed import forecasts due […] Read more



Editorial: Lose the certificate, lose the brand

These days you can hardly read an article on business success without a reference to the importance of branding. But last week the federal budget confirmed what we reported in the last issue — the Canadian Grain Commission and its Certificate Final for export shipments are under review. That means that so is the brand […] Read more


Opinion: It’s not really a ‘Farm’ Bill

You might think that U.S. Treasury officials would have cringed last month when the president and Congress signed off on a Farm Bill with a total cost of US$867 billion. That’s 155 times more than President Trump’s US$5.6-billion request for the border wall, which shut down parts of the U.S. government. In fact, they probably […] Read more



Doggerel — 30th anniversary edition

The holiday is over, with all its big meals epicurious You know what that means: it’s time to get serious And start the new year with a bit of reflection On how the past year went in an agricultural direction Then look ahead to advise which crops to be seeding And give you one or […] Read more


Editorial: The Trump discount

If you follow markets, especially if you grow soybeans, you’ll know about the price debacle resulting from President Trump’s decision to start a trade war with China. In retaliation for his duty on manufactured goods, China slapped a 25 per cent tariff on U.S. soybeans. That’s caused U.S. futures to plummet to a 10-year low […] Read more



Editorial: We had it in the ’70s

Some readers may remember the Western Grain Stabilization Administration (WGSA), a Prairie grain support program that ran from 1976 to 1989. Farmers could contribute up two per cent of net grain sales, matched two to one by the federal government. It was a pretty good deal, so most farmers participated. The payout mechanism was simple […] Read more


Editorial: Who needs convincing?

Maybe it’s just a guilty pleasure or maybe you can justify it by saying it’s good mental exercise, but one way or another I confess — I watch “Jeopardy.” One of the benefits of being semi-retired is that you can be home to watch it at 4:30. Considering the U.S. drug commercials (with their terrifying […] Read more



Editorial: Ultimate inside information

One day in my previous life as director of information for the Canadian Wheat Board, a Chinese delegation was in Winnipeg to negotiate a wheat purchase. By that time, Chinese negotiations were down to a few days rather than the few weeks they had taken in the 1960s and 1970s, but there was still a […] Read more


Editorial: No fake news here

The tree is now down, the fruit cake all eaten So it’s time for our annual New Year’s greetin’ On the past year’s news we offer reflection And give a glimpse of the future direction Plus offer valuable free farming advice On what to grow, and when to sell at top price For a while […] Read more