Parlez vous Français?, basis maps, and the Pistons — a LIVE! with Phil Shaw


What is it about farmers in Quebec that makes them so effective at lobbying? Solidarity, for one, says our guest for this LIVE! episode.

Guest host Kelvin Heppner of RealAgiculture is joined by Phil Shaw, grain farmer from Dresden, Ont., and markets columnist for DTN for 34 years, where they talk a little basketball, a lot about farming culture, and more about grain markets, especially cash markets and basis.

  • Shaw is a grain farmer from Dresden, in the “deep south” of Ontario
  • Most of the equipment is tucked in for the winter now
  • Had some November weather in October, which is a little scary, but it turned out amazing in early November
  • (Then there was some basketball talk)
  • Shaw has been a DTN columnist for over 30 years! Way back before there were things like the internet, Phil was writing about markets on the DTN network
  • He originally started working with farmers in Quebec during his Master’s degree.
  • Farming in Quebec is just so different. If you farm there, there’s a union, one organization (UPA), one list of farmers
  • They are so strong politically, not afraid to shut things down
  • Supply management strength really comes from the strength in Quebec
  • The language barrier is a real one — how do we work more closely together?
  • We need to try to communicate, to share, to discuss
  • It really is a different culture
  • OK, OK, let’s talk markets! Specifically, this harvest rally — what the heck?
  • Right now we are looking at a season where soybean futures prices were $8.51/bu and now are sitting at $11.74/bu  (futures)
  • Cash market differences are significant and tell a different story
  • How much work goes into making the basis maps?
  • Cash basis in Ontario and eastern Canada is as important as railway movement to Western Canada
  • What’s happened this fall? We’ve had Chinese buying, gains in futures prices, and at harvest, had $12 and $13 soybeans, when they should have been so much lower, and now over $14 cash
  • Basis in Ontario, cash prices? Same 2012-13 cash values, but the dollar was at par; this year, we’re at 76-77 cents
  • Daily market intelligence is key, and Shaw spends a lot of time on it
  • Cover crops and soil is interesting, but marketing, ugh. But more farmers need to understand and follow markets more!
  • Basis values and cash markets in Eastern Canada — cash market tells the real story, Shaw says
  • Twitter! The value of social is real! He has met so many great people across the globe. His handle is @Agridome

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