Latest articles


Are your grain deliveries protected?

Know the full CGC rules to make sure your payment is protected when you make a sale

Not getting paid for the grain you deliver. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, it’s a tough financial blow. Know the rules so you can protect yourself. The law in this area is in the hands of the Canada Grains Commission. Everything you read here in italics comes from the CGC website. Let’s […] Read more


Grain marketing changes over time

After all of the changes over the past decades, do farmers have more price control?

When I started my first job at a farmer-owned co-op grain elevator 36 years ago, the only way a producer could get a price was by calling or stopping by the local elevator to see the daily bids. These only included grains like canola, rye and flax, as all wheats, barley and oats were under […] Read more



farmer in soybean fields

What are the “best of the best” doing?

Is your farm in the top of the field? If not, can you find a way to get there?

“The success of any farm enterprise, regardless of size, geography, or commodity is directly related to the farm business management skills and practices of the farm manager.” This is a quote from a session I attended at FarmTech, put on by Farm Management Canada. Farm Management Canada has gathered some very interesting information in an extensive cross-Canada survey focusing on best […] Read more


FarmTech update continued

Weather and market information picked up on the winter meeting speaker circuit

While at FarmTech in Edmonton, I had a chance to hear speakers talk about weather and markets. Drew Lerner from World Weather Inc. is always popular. This year, he aptly named his presentation “Wild and Whacky Weather.” Lerner’s key message was that the weather across the Prairies and the U.S. is deeply influenced by the […] Read more



World trends and your farm

Global statistics from FarmTech could mean opportunities for Prairie farmers

This year’s FarmTech conference in Edmonton at the end of January was another great conference packed with interesting speakers. First up was Darrell Bricker from Toronto, the CEO for IPSOS Public Affairs, talking talking about the new Canada — population pattern changes due to fertility, aging patterns, urbanization and multiculturalism. His focus was: “who will […] Read more


A review of the market fundamentals

Back to basics — the rudiments, the essentials and the nitty gritty details of fundamentals

When talking about markets you always hear the terms technicals and fundamentals. “Technicals” refers primarily to the historical and present day charting information for a commodity. This includes examining all of the formations, trend lines, etc., to determine where futures prices are going. “Fundamentals” encompasses other aspects that can influence markets — such as politics, currencies, […] Read more



spring wheat

My answer to “the question”

What Brian Wittal has been telling farmers the markets will do this year

This time of year the question I get asked the most from producers is “what are the markets going to do this coming year?” I suspect I might have a better chance of trying to explain the meaning of life than trying to accurately answer this loaded question, but I am not one to shy […] Read more


farm equipment seeding

Getting info and seeding early

It is the time of year to gather knowledge and make your plans for the coming season

January is the busiest month of the year for ag trade shows, conferences, updates and industry meetings. You could spend the entire month traveling across the Prairies attending sessions. I attended the inaugural Cereals Innovation Symposium in Red Deer, Alta., hosted by the Alberta Wheat Commission, and heard some very interesting speakers. Scientists talked about […] Read more



Grain marketing lessons learned the hard way

Events in 2017 gave us many opportunities to make grain marketing mistakes

I know some of you living in Alberta where the boom and bust cycle of the oil and gas industry is all too common will have seen a bumper sticker on an oilfield worker’s truck that says, “Lord, give me one more chance at another oil boom and I promise I won’t piss it all […] Read more


Life after the de-listing of the ICE futures

The on-farm impact of the de-listing of milling wheat, durum and barley contracts

In the last issue I wrote about the de-listing of the ICE milling wheat, durum and barley future and options contracts. These contracts were introduced in 2012, then de-listed on October 26, 2017. Now, let’s address three reasons why you should care. Reason 1: The loss of these contracts gives you one less tool to […] Read more