The growing season of 2010 is going to be talked about for decades as one of the most trying years for western Canadian farmers. While Mother Nature was more like mother- in-law nature last year, 2010’s disaster does offer some positive prospects for 2011.
It’s a sad fact that positive results for some in agriculture are most often the result of negatives for others. That being said I think all farmers can agree that positive price movements at farm-gate levels are positive for everyone, even if you don’t have as much volume as you’d like in the bin.
2010 set us up for increases in the price of wheat, canola, kabuli chickpeas and not-horrid-quality lentils, too. Most canola growers managed better than expected production, making the crop a cash-generating leader for many famers this season. It looks like the crop could do so again in 2011.
It’s early January now, and I hazard to say we’ve never lost a crop in January, so let’s move on to 2011, shall we?
SEEDING PLANS FOR 2011
While many farmers booked canola seed in October, I think most of you are still trying to solidify a seeding plan for this year. In these months leading up to spring, coffee shop talk turns to trying to choose the outstanding winner of the season before the season really starts.
Whenever someone asks me my opinion on what to seed, I always says the same thing —grow what your land is well suited to and what you can get the most bushels of the highest quality possible.
Having said that, it’s human to want to try something new or chase down a high-paying crop. And just what is that going to be in the coming season? So far, canola seems is a good bet. Most farmers agree I’ve talked to agree. It won’t take much to exceed the seeded acreage number from 2010, but even so the price looks good for fall of 2011. At writing, I was looking at $11 per bushel (approximately, assuming a basis of 20 under). How often do we have an opportunity to sell $11 canola off the combine?
LENTILS IN 2011
Canola seems a safe bet to pay some bills and get the marketing season off to a good start, but what next? I believe large green lentils will remain firm. With last season’s less than ideal (understatement of the year) harvest conditions there we will be little to zero carry in of high-end green lentils, namely No. 1s and No. 2s. The market has remained firm on these this season for that reason, and there is little reason to assume it will not remain in the 30s going forward, in my opinion. It is likely that lentil acres will fall from the record numbers this year, I am guessing by 15 per cent at least, in favour of cereals and, as previously mentioned, canola. Low stocks carried over, fewer acres planted and steady to increasing demand all adds up to me to a firm to firmer price.
Red lentils, kabuli chick peas, canola, large green lentils and cereals, all have relatively positive outlooks for the coming season. You know your land, you know the condition it began winter in and you know what it will be in the best condition to produce next season. Many areas of Manitoba and Saskatchewan are going to struggle with excess moisture at seeding; what do you believe will perform best on your farm, with your equipment and you knowledge base?
I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday season and I know we are all pleased to put 2010 behind us and look forward to 2011. All the best to everyone in the coming season!