Latest articles

(Former) Editor’s Take: Cover crop funding decision unfair to cattle producers

High-tech agriculture has been hogging all the attention lately. Mainstream media run stories starting with “It isn’t Old Macdonald’s farm anymore,” describing drones, satellites and tractor cabs fitted with computer screens. Farm media regularly feature stories on the latest precision agriculture innovations and how farmers can figure out how to use all that computer data […] Read more

Opinion: With friends like this

Canada's dairy farmers getting a bad image

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer was back in the headlines recently after a visit to an agricultural fair in Ste. Hyacinthe, Quebec, clearly intended to brand himself as a friend of Canada’s dairy farmers. This friendship may not be helpful. Scheer’s visit follows his widely reported comments to a Dairy Farmers of Canada meeting in […] Read more

(Former) Editor’s Take: Record exports are not a problem

Canadian farm organizations have been making the case for better business risk management programs, and with margins getting tighter, they may be justified. But farm leaders should ask for the right reasons, and they shouldn’t include market access problems or being caught in a trade war, especially when export demand has never been better. Hardly […] Read more

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