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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 Manitoba farmers were getting a little bit pouty

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After several years of deluge, things almost seemed droughty
But when it came time to get the grain cart to the tractor connected
Many found the yields were much higher than expected
Was it good management, or because new varieties yield so good?
With the price of seed these days, they sure as heck should

We’re now told that farmers who make the best decisions
Are the ones who’ve adopted an agriculture called “precision”
Instead of just spreading fertilizer and seed willy-nilly
You place a bit more (or is it less?) where it’s salty or hilly
You’re not sure? Then don’t worry, that’s no longer a factor
’Cause these days you’re not the one who’s driving the tractor

Big Data will decide, so with auto steer and other such tricks
You can just climb in the cab and watch movies on Netflix
This gave the guy who runs Seedmaster the thought
To develop a new system that he calls the DOT
If you don’t need a driver, then the cab’s not a factor
If you don’t need either of those, then you don’t need a tractor
All you need is an engine which onto your seeder you hitch it
When it’s time to cultivate or spray, you just need to switch it
Instead of old two-cylinder Deeres, with a new coat of paint
Big 4WDs will soon be lawn decorations; we’ll say they look quaint

I’ve watched U.S. politics for so many years that I can’t recall

But I can say for sure that the past year Trumped them all
The Donald loves to get cheers when he gives speeches defiant
To Wisconsin farmers saying NAFTA’s not fair-trade compliant
But kill the deal? Their dairy lobby now says “Not so much, it
“Turns out Mexico’s now our biggest customer, we’d better not touch it”
And when you take total U.S. ag buyers, and put them in order
Who comes out on top? That country north of their border

I don’t know about you, but I would find it quite nifty
If I never hear another speech about growing enough for 2050
It seems that those giving these speeches don’t seem to know
That the world’s full of grain with no place to go
I think the first time I heard a panic about food stock decline
Was at a grain outlook meeting back in 1979
But while grain prices since then have moved nary a ripple
Due to inflation now everything else costs at least triple
Instead of hearing about growing crops 33 years off, it
Would be nicer to hear about growing this year’s at a profit

I can’t think of anything more profitable in this part of the nation
Than the introduction of canola to the Prairie rotation
But because for extra cash farmers are sometimes a bit needy
They make the canola rotation a little too speedy
Whether it’s rumour or fact, I’m not sure that I know
But I’ve heard some farmers rotate canola and snow
Meaning more sclerotinia and blackleg; which while annoying
Aren’t like clubroot, which can be whole-crop destroying
So unless we want the whole canola industry to be toast
Farmers need to stick to one in four at the most

“Then what should I grow instead?” I hear you inquiring
You’ve come to the right place if advice you’re desiring
I’ve taken another internet course, and sent in my $19.95 fee
So I now have my certificate which makes me an Ag Analyst PhD
The first step is to examine each of your fields
And this year rotate to something else to ensure higher yields
Then go to town for coffee and ask your neighbours “Which crop is it
“Best to plant this year?” Then make sure that you do the opposite
If you plant wheat, some varieties I advise to be wary of ’em
Make sure you buy ones that have high protein, and without fusarium
Should you plant barley? Certainly — I wouldn’t be halting
Just be sure that you buy the kind of seed that goes malting
Canola? Well, there’s so many these days, it might be just as smart
To pull out the seed guide and just throw a dart
Should you grow that soon-legal tall crop, which once was tut-tutted?
I don’t think so — I predict the market will be pretty soon glutted

Now most market advisers tell you that it’s foolish to seek
The top of the market and always sell at the peak
They’re just charging you a fee to clear your own conscience
By blaming the wrong timing on them; I just call that nonsense
How to sell at the top? Well, go back for coffee and inquire
If the neighbours are selling or holding for higher
That’s the best way for the top of the market to pick
If all the neighbours are still holding, then sell your grain quick

No more room for advice, so best wishes for a great year in farming
With no drought or diseases or critters alarming
May your insecticide sprayers stay parked without use
May your calves all squirt out like poop from a goose
Once again, best wishes from all of us here
For good crops and good prices, and Happy New Year!

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