Letters – for Aug. 26, 2010

What is it going to take before the deteriorating state of Highway 34 is addressed?

Letters have been written and phone calls have been made by many asking that this stretch of pavement be repaired properly.

As a farmer, and on behalf of all farmers who must travel this stretch, I am frustrated that our pleas for a safer route have been ignored and worried that with the ever-increasing amount of farm-related traffic on highways there will ultimately be vehicle accidents. The width of farm implements makes travelling on Highway 34 perilous, not only for the equipment operator, but for all daily traffic.

Attempts to pass the slower, wider equipment are extremely risky when considering the patchy, rough pavement and the dangerous drop-off at the edge of the shoulder. We have witnessed near accidents as vehicles, giving room to passing implements, slip over the seven-inch drop-off at the edge of the pavement and fight to regain control.

I worry every time my children have to travel on this highway and know that despite the driver’s education they receive there is no way possible to help them regain control of their vehicle if it would slip over the edge of pavement on this highway.

Simply driving this stretch of pavement will certainly make you realize how rough the ride is, but until you walk along the edge of it you will not have the full impact of the dangerous pavement drop-off.

Highway 34 has been patched and repatched. This quick-fix solution has created other problems. In the last couple of years, increased use of the highway has resulted in the indentation of the tire paths. This left a raised strip, which threatened to bottom out lower cars and made passing vehicles difficult. Patching only the tire paths reduced the bottoming-out problem but created a dangerous swaying motion of trucks that haul liquids such as fertilizer, fuel, and water – yet another recipe for disaster.

This highway must be repaired properly and the shoulders built up before the inevitable injuries and fatalities occur.

Linda Jonk Bruxelles, Man.

Nothing Complicated About High Prices

I am writing in response to John Morriss’s August 12 editorial entitled “What a System,” in which the recent run-up in wheat prices is said to be unjustified and primarily driven by speculators.

We would recommend less caution in observing high wheat prices, and more in this type of woeful oversimplification of market dynamics, which is misleading to readers.

It’s true some hedge funds were buying wheat futures on the way up, and at times that can cause markets to temporarily overshoot a fair valuation. But fundamentally, it’s difficult to overstate the impact on trade flows of losing the FSU as a supplier of wheat and coarse grains this year, as end-users worldwide generally had very little forward coverage on when the Russian drought threat arose.

This is why we saw panic buying not just in the futures, but in the physical markets as well. During the most volatile futures trading sessions, cash markets in fact saw even more pronounced moves, which actual market analysts use as indication that an uptrend is fundamentally valid.

Where does this fact fit into Morriss’s story of how “outside speculators are running the show in Chicago wheat?” And in proclaiming that Chicago wheat can’t rise above Minneapolis in a functioning market, how does he explain away Hard Red Spring Wheat basis levels weakening while winter wheat basis levels steadily strengthened?

No wonder grain producers have such a hard time deciding on the best future for the Canadian Wheat Board when being fed such egregious, misleading, erroneous arguments instead of information based on actual market facts and analysis. There’s nothing very complicated about the best pricing opportunity for wheat that we’ve seen in two years. To spin this into some type of conspiracy theory is simply incorrect and irresponsible. Jonathon Driedger

Market Analyst FarmLink Marketing Solutions Winnipeg, Man.

Please forward letters to Manitoba Co-operator, 1666 Dublin Ave., Winnipeg, R3H 0H1 or Fax: 204-954-1422 or email: [email protected] (subject: To the editor)

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