The year captured in verse — without one single curse

Despite all the woes of the year just past, our resident ‘poet’ finds much to be thankful for

We usually review the past year fondly, but in this one’s instance

Some of 2020 we’d just as soon view far back in the distance

While for many farmers the year was one of the best

For others harvesting and preparing our food, it was a year full of stress

Even if they could go to work, it was not without fear

So before we begin rhyming badly about farming last year

Let’s give thanks to fellow food workers like cooks, servers and cashiers

Now I don’t like to brag, but I must say as a matter of fact

My last year’s forecast for perfect weather was almost exact

“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”

OK, on that last line I was a little bit wrong to be stating

Because after September for rain, many farmers were still waiting

But after 2019 when things just got wetter and wetter

Except for haying and fall work, 2020 couldn’t have been much better

After farmers had finished filling their last combine hopper

The Prairie grain and oilseed crop was another big whopper

We’ve had big crops before, but getting them moved has been tough

Sometimes the railways just won’t get off their duff

Maybe it’s because demand for other products has been lacking

But let’s give railways credit — grain exports have really been cracking

And since China’s the one buying most of the cargoes

Why do we still hear talk about canola embargoes?

I used to write stories about it in the ’70s, so now they’re archival

But now the Wild Oat Action Committee has seen a revival

Back then farmers were told to spray weeds with persistence

Now they say to hold off, wild oats now show resistance

So you must rotate your chemicals — there are very good reasons

Not to use pinoxaden, clodinafop and sethoxydim for consecutive seasons

And tralcoxydim and quizalofop for two years you shouldn’t be using

I don’t know about you, but to me farming seems to be getting confusing

But help is at hand, some big companies are planning to sell us

New high-tech farming solutions, including Google and Telus

Google says it has robots that can cruise through your fields

And assess the best treatment for each individual plant’s yield

If that means a separate dose of chemical that each plant gets

They’ll need a sprayer with pretty small nozzles and jets

While many have been a great help for making decisions agronomical

I think some precision-farming ideas may just not be economical

Some critics have claimed that cattle producers are culpable

Of feeding grain that directly for humans is more efficiently gulpable

The cattle producers replied “That’s just not the case

“Our dogies mostly eat grass which would otherwise just go to waste”

But A&W’s ads for grass-fed beef drew some grumbles from feedlots

They shouldn’t — good advertising is more of what the industry needs lots

And for beef sales there’s certainly a lot to be gainable

If outfits like McDonald’s advertise burgers made from beef that’s sustainable

Most news coverage of throne speech ag items only mentioned a few acres

That might get irrigated in Saskatchewan around Lake Diefenbaker

It missed the most important item — what the speech did actually say

Was to start a new Canada Water Agency to revive the PFRA

It’s about time, because long term the most important issue of course is

The protection of our national soil and water resources

I used to think margins were a place in a book to be scribbling

But apparently they’re something else over which there’s been quibbling

Farmers say that at 70 per cent there’s no way they can figger

To get a way to make an AgriStability payment to trigger

The feds say they’ll raise the margin by 10 per cent more

Of course if the provinces agree; this is an old game — I’ve seen it before

So much for the past year, before that we’re ending

You’ll want some advice for the year that is pending

What should you grow, which crops are my best guess of?

I recommend the ones that everyone else will grow less of

Of course, with the provision that you shouldn’t lose sight

Of my advice not to make your rotations too tight

As for weather, I’m pretty sure what I’m seeing

Is enough snow to replenish moisture, and for cross-country skiing

After that, to repeat last year’s forecast I’m definitely willing

Except with a bit more moisture in August for soybean pod filling

I’d tell you much more, but is always the case

This is all that they give me, I’ve run out of space

So once again, best wishes on behalf of everyone here

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

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