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Twelve years ago I was told that having fewer and bigger grain elevators would be more efficient and better for me. Today the tariff at these new efficient inland grain terminals is at least 50 per cent higher than it was 12 years ago. I was also told 12 years ago that is the rail system was streamlined to be more efficient, it would save money and I would be better off. Well, they have streamlined the rail system for the last 12 years (and [are] still streamlining) and in that short time my freight bill is one-third higher. I hope the system doesn’t get any more efficient because my farming operation simply cannot afford any more of these railroad/grain company efficiencies.

It is no coincidence that our rural roads have deteriorated drastically in the last 12 years as the railways and grain companies become more efficient. I don’t think our Prairie Provinces can afford any more of these railroad/ grain company efficiencies either. I wonder if they will raise our taxes to help pay for all these railroad/ grain company efficiencies. Edward Sagan, Melville, Sask.





John Weing of McGrath, Alta., called to comment on the “These are good times to buy” article that ran in Grainews’s Feb. 15 issue. The article looked at the actual prices of a comparable tractor in the last few decades. It noted sticker prices have actually declined when measured in current dollars.

But John felt comparing the number of bushels of grain a farmer would have to produce to buy those tractors might be a better way to compare their relative costs. He suspected it would take more bushels of grain to buy a tractor now, than it did in times past. Not surprisingly (because Grainews readers, I might say, are rather bright), he’s right.

According to the historical price information available on the Canadian Wheat Board’s website,,here is a look at how much No. 1 CWRS wheat it would take to buy the three tractors mentioned in the article:

For the 1965 4020 JD, it would take 94.86 or 100.40 metric tonnes to generate enough cash to buy it, depending on which crop year the grain was sold in, 1964-65 or 1965-66.

The 1975 4230 required 99.4 or 111.64, again depending on the crop year. Based on the 2008-09 final board price, buying the 2010, 6115D tractor would require selling 134.06 tonnes.

Thanks for the call, John.

Scott Garvey, machinery editor



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