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The Year in Doggerel: 20-20 Foresight

As you may know, in each year’s first edition

We follow a time-honoured farm writer’s tradition

Of reviewing the past year in doggerel (that’s badly rhymed text)

And giving you fearless predictions on what to expect for the next

Since she’s in charge, I hesitate to criticize Mother Nature’s decisions

But I wish she could be a bit better at mathematical divisions

She got the total rainfall right, but this year I hope she’ll remember

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To allocate more from May to August, instead of mostly September

“Rutting season” usually means when bucks are for females pining

But last fall it was also a description of Prairie farmers combining

Maybe it was a GPS failure, or farmers had their autosteer unhook-ed

But to me some of those ruts looked awfully crooked

Even so, it seemed that almost every ag newspaper edition

Had at least one story on how to farm with precision

It sounds like a good plan so long as all systems are able

To communicate, but so far it’s a bit like the Tower of Babel

Hook two machines up and the first thing you know

Is they stall: the red one says stop and the green one says go

But sooner or later they’ll sort out that factor

So the seeders and sprayers can talk to the tractor

With Big Data and AI (Artificial Intelligence) I bet they’ll be striving

To take over completely and get rid of the guy driving

Soon the only part of farming left for humans to be knowin’

Is how to drive to see the banker in town, and ask for a loan

Though some farmers are thinking things could be more prolific

By going back to mixed farming, but with an approach scientific

They call it “regenerative agriculture” — many, including millennials

Are finding the benefits of livestock, and forage perennials

If you’re looking for your farm’s long-term health to be sustainable

By just rotating canola and wheat that might not be attainable

I really don’t like the new names but I guess we all hafta’

Start calling it USMCA or CUSMA — what used to be NAFTA

Open borders for most things are good, economists have showed

But not everything: such as waterhemp and soybean cyst nematode

They’ve crossed into Manitoba without checking with customs

We now need farmers to co-operate in a major effort to bust ’em

If you spot a waterhemp patch, then you should immediately

Notify the provincial weed specialist, and do it expediently

It can take over your whole field and before that you know it

You won’t be able to spray it with anything, you’ll just have to hoe it

You can’t review the past year without failing to mention

How farmers got caught in the middle of international tension

After Canada arrested an executive from a telecommunications giant

China hinted that “To buy your canola, we might not be compliant”

Which caused much fuss — many press releases were flying

But although a bit less, China actually kept buying

And if you add canola to its purchases of all other crops

On the list of Canada’s grain customers China came out on tops

Maybe you can explain it; I can’t, despite all my trying

The WTO complaint that our best customer’s not buying

So much for last year, it’s time to finish reflection

And look ahead for a glimpse at the new year’s direction

After examining my Christmas turkey’s innards and doing a reading

They said that for sure you’ll have enough moisture for seeding

On the outlook for prices, they said that we’re headed for a correction

But when I asked up or down, they couldn’t give the direction

The new year will be 20-20, but try hard as they might

Like most analysts the innards can only see that way in hindsight

So here’s what I predict that all farmers will be having

Is a few more weeks of winter, but not too cold for calving

Warm, gentle spring winds will start on March 15 precisely

By the middle of April they’ll have dried the soil nicely

Then no rainfall till farmers have finished what they need to be doin’

After that an inch or so weekly (at night only) starting in June

Around mid-August I predict the rain gods will remember

To hold off for a few weeks till the end of September

How accurate am I when I predict much less wetter?

As accurate as anyone else, and it sounds a lot better

So on that note I’ll sign off with best wishes from all of us here

For good crops and good prices, and a Happy New Year!

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