Latest articles

Moving from “just new here” to “experienced”

Moving ahead on the learning curve requires you to make a mental switch

Eventually, I will get it. Eventually, I will understand farming and agriculture. I don’t know when, though. And when I retreat inside my own brain to take stock what I do in fact know, the process gets interrupted by questions such as, what does it really mean to know or learn anything? The first time […] Read more

The value of on-farm research

On the farm, “value” and money aren’t necessarily always the same thing

The notion of value is a tricky one. For many, it unequivocally refers to money. When a new product promises to deliver more value to your farm, most of us take that to mean that product is going to increase our profits. Or, if not explicitly that, it will make our farms better in a […] Read more

Building a relationship with readers

At the start of the New Year, Toban reflects on his Grainews column to date

Thank you. From the foundations of who I am today and all that I’ve done in the last five years, I’d like to express my gratitude to you, Grainews readers and farmers, for being supportive; for listening; for engaging; and for being one of the most fruitful audiences I’ve ever had. Don’t worry. I am […] Read more

Too busy not to look after the long-term plan

Even when you're in the thick of things, take time to focus on yourself and your goals

I had a moment of lucidity. It came amid what turned out to be a few weeks of absolute frenzy. I had been busy. On the farm, we were rushing to finish the fall fieldwork before the snow and cold weather was scheduled to hit. At work, a series of projects were coming to a […] Read more

soybeans and soybean pods

Growing soybeans in Brazil

Toban Dyck had a glimpse of South American ag in a whirlwind trip to Brazil

At the end of August my wife and I traveled to Brazil for the International Pork and Poultry conference. I assumed the soybean plants in Brazil grow six-feet tall and that farmers there expect yields close to 80 bushels per acre. I expected to see lush growth, and an insatiable appetite for clear cutting the […] Read more

The way they farm on a different continent

Toban Dyck takes an opportunity to travel south to an ag conference in Brazil

On May 30 of this year, Carlos Vieira contacted me. I didn’t know him then and I almost turned him away. But I didn’t. Call it serendipity. Call it providence. I don’t really care what you call it. The result was an amazing experience my wife and I won’t soon forget. I don’t know why […] Read more

Keeping the rural identity in prairie towns

When Prairie towns grow and change, some may shed their farming roots

It’s strange to think of cities, towns or villages as having an identity. But they all do. And every community, growing or stagnant or dwindling will at many points throughout its run be faced with the existential and difficult question: who am I? This is especially relevant for the large swath of rural Canadian communities […] Read more

“One more” detail of farming: the yard

Long-time farmers take farmyards for granted, but looking after a farmstead is a big job

I am a farmer. Most likely you are, too. This means more on some days than others. Today, it means that frost boil at the mouth of our carport needs to be dealt with. Tomorrow, who knows. On the farm right now, I think about the future. About what looms. I look up through the […] Read more

Harvesting of soybean field with combine

Seeding ideas about the rural/urban divide

A farmers musings on the growing lack of communication between city-dwellers and farmers

I got some grease on me the other day. Heck. It looked as if I had bathed in the stuff. And, you know what? It felt great. I even got a few scrapes. The kind of scrapes you only notice later, after the work, when you’re sitting down with a good book or while watching […] Read more

Putting in those long spring working days

When there are clouds in the sky, there’s no time to waste when the crop’s not in yet

I had about 50 acres left to seed at 10 p.m. on May 15. The forecast was calling for rain starting at about midnight. But that was for Winkler. I wasn’t near Winkler. I was closer to the system that was rolling east. I didn’t think I’d be able to finish. The system was above […] Read more