Category: Opinion

Left on the desk — Aug 4, 2018

Every week I end up with a massive pile of tidbits, data points, interesting perspectives and stories that I don’t get around to writing about. Instead, they end up in a massive pile on my desk. In an effort to deal with the inability to find a pen in this haystack of paper, Kelvin has… Read more »

Wheat prices jump into August — This week in the grain markets

This week, winter wheat prices touched a three-year high, but it didn’t last. Chicago SRW wheat prices for September 2018 gained 5 per cent or about 26 cents US/bushel to close at $5.56. While the December 2018 contract was up 5.4 percent — or nearly 30 cents — to finish a tad under $5.80. In… Read more »

5 scenarios for Canadian dairy in NAFTA 2.0 talks

The three NAFTA partners are reportedly making progress on a deal around auto-content rules, meaning we could see a change in focus to the remaining issues, which includes Canadian market access for U.S. dairy products. There’s plenty of speculation about what the ultimate compromise required to get a deal done will be, but we can… Read more »

Ode to the plant breeder

Personally, I know that I lack the ability to focus on one thing for very long. I bounce from topic to topic every day as new issues develop and new questions arise. Authors commit months, or even years, to one subject when writing a book. Their ability to make that time commitment is so amazing… Read more »

Getting away from artificial prices – This week in the grain markets

Grain markets this week finished higher for the second straight week as the complex seemed to wake up from the nightmare it’s been in the last few months. Corn prices had a fairly good week in Chicago. Front-month and next-month contracts added a few percentage gains as markets kept a close eye on European weather… Read more »

Trucker shortage threatens agricultural trade flows

Agriculture requires the transportation of goods via highway, water, and rail across North America.  When it comes to challenges, the rivers in the U.S. and railways in Canada tend to get much of the media coverage, but what about the trucking industry? At first thought about the issue you might suspect that quality of the… Read more »

What’s behind recent strength in the Canadian dollar?

On Friday, the Canadian dollar rose nearly a cent relative to the U.S. dollar. The sudden ‘strength’ came from a couple of sources. First, more confidence that the Bank of Canada will continue the path gradual rate hikes; second, a weaker U.S. Dollar. Recent Canadian economic data warrants the Bank’s outlook for gradual rate increases…. Read more »

Christmas in July — This week in the grain market

Grain prices this week had a positive week for the first time in nearly 2 months. Almost feels like Christmas! Usually weather premiums are added to the market in late May through to June. However, this year, that seasonal pattern was idled thanks to an excellent start to the 2018 growing season in North America… Read more »

7 things we learned at Ag in Motion

It was a warm few days of visiting, walking around, and watching farm equipment in action, as thousands of people from the agriculture community met in a field along Highway 16 northwest of Saskatoon this week for the 2018 edition of Ag in Motion (AIM). The hot weather certainly put a premium on any space… Read more »

Living life to the fullest: Reflecting on the Canadian Milk Tour tragedy

The news on Monday about the Schuurmans and the tragic collision on the Canadian Milk Tour near Saskatoon was devastating. This is clearly a situation that comes with shock, surprise, and sadness. In reflection of the events, it really hits home for me that life can be so fragile. My takeaway from this event is… Read more »

Bank of Canada increases target rate again, but questions remain on the economy and dollar

The Bank of Canada increased the target interest rate today by 0.25%, to 1.5%. This is now the fourth rate hike, amounting to 1%, since the Bank hiked rates for the first time since 2007 a year ago. Over the last year, the Bank of Canada has matched the aggressiveness of the U.S. Federal Reserve,… Read more »

Trade strategy requires patience, but can we afford it?

Canada’s retaliatory tariffs against the United States — worth $16.6 billion — will clearly come at a cost, not only to the American economy, but also the Canadian economy. Despite the likely economic fallout from this trade spat, both sides in this dispute are talking about being disciplined and patient and trying to take a… Read more »

When the CFIA comes to call

There are likely few sentences that strike fear in the hearts of livestock producers quite like, “The CFIA called. They’re coming for a meeting.” That’s exactly what happened here last week, and, admittedly, my first inclination was to freak out. Fearing the worst (an audit on two days notice is the stuff of nightmares), I… Read more »

Canadian wheat grading criticized by Trump, but can be easily resolved

Nobody can light a fire under an issue like President Donald Trump, even if he openly admits he doesn’t understand it. Speaking in Fargo, North Dakota, on Wednesday night, the president was given some speaking points on the issue of how U.S. wheat is graded in Canada — one of the few agriculture trade irritants… Read more »

Buy Canadian? Great idea, but don’t forget about cupboard economics

Every now and then, Canadians will take a stand against the U.S. by choosing Canadian items over American ones at the grocery store. Canadians are generally loyal to Canadian food products, unless they cost more — and most often, they do. In a nutshell, here is what happened following the G7 Summit: Trudeau plays nice… Read more »