Latest articles

Weather, trade and our grain markets

Local and global events are keeping markets moving. Keep your eyes on your own work

As the calendar turned to April most of the Prairies looked like they were back in January with the snow cover and cold. Due to the La Niña weather event persisting for longer than some had predicted, portions of the Midwest and Southern U.S. remained extremely dry, while the Northern States, like the Prairies were […] Read more

Make the smart health choice

Approach your health plan as seriously as you approached your spring cropping plan

Many producers I talked to before spring seeding said they were going to run hard and put in long hours to make up for the late start. From a risk management perspective, the No. 1 priority every spring should be your health and safety. Over the past 10 years, advancements in equipment and technology have […] Read more

Pre-season contracts and changed plans

If you’ve changed seeding plans due to spring weather, check your contract obligations

So far, 2018 is setting up to be a year of extremes and challenges. There’s been record snow pack in the mountains and a drawn-out winter with excessive snow across the Prairies. Overland flooding across wide areas of the Prairies came during one of the latest springs in years. On April 21, I was in […] Read more

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