Archive for June, 2009

USDA Planting Report Jolts the Market

June 30, 2009

This morning the USDA provided an updated planting report and the market was taken for a ride lower due to above expected corn and wheat acres. The following is commentary from Jon Driedger of FarmLink Marketing Solutions and Stephan Gmehlin of

Below is Jon Driedger of FarmLink Marketing Solutions commentary.
The corn acres was the big surprise, and today’s trade clearly reflected that. Wheat was a bit negative as well, but managed to hold up relatively better than the corn. The soybean numbers came in roughly as expected, confirming an S&D that has little room for yield adversity going forward, which allowed it to hold up quite impressively today given the negative sentiment coming from corn.

As with all major government reports, the market’s reaction to the news over the coming days will be more important than the numbers themselves. Sentiment may have shifted, but the main crops still have a lot of weather ahead to trade, and in the case of corn and wheat, current values have already priced in a fair amount of bearish news in recent weeks. Most of the minor crops are indicating smaller year-over-year plantings in the U.S., including some important ones to western Canadian growers such as canola, barley, flax, mustard and dry beans. So while the overall initial impression of this report was bearish, it will take some time for the markets to fully digest the details, and for prices to respond in local terms.

Stephan Gmehlin commented on this morning that, USDA surprised many people with this years Acreage report. Corn acres were actually up 2 million acres from the spring planting intentions report with an estimated 87 million acres this is the second largest corn crop planted since 1946, behind 2007. Iowa planted 13.7 million acres and Illinois added 200,000 acres from 2008 for a total of 12.3 million acres with Nebraska rounding out the top 3 states at 9.4 million acres. This corn acreage figure is a total surprise as most analysts were looking for acres to go down from March planting intention report, but this figure from USDA exceeded even the highest estimates of analysts by a million bushels.

Cosmetic Pesticides Banned in Ontario

June 30, 2009

This spring, I met with Lillian Schaer of , to discuss some of the issues related to the urban pesticides ban in Ontario. I was first exposed to this issue during an interview that I did with Jay Bradshaw, President of Syngenta Canada. The following is an update on the situation.

The following was Submitted by AGCare, Agricultural Groups Concerned about Resources and the Environment,

Ontario’s new cosmetic pesticide ban came into effect on April 22 of this year.
Under the new law, pesticides cannot be used for cosmetic reasons on lawns, vegetable and ornamental gardens, patios, driveways, cemeteries, and in parks and school yards.

The provincial government has allowed no exceptions for pest infestations (insects, fungi or weeds) in these areas, stating that lower risk pesticides, biopesticides and alternatives to pesticides exist that can be used.

The ban does provide exceptions for various uses, including agriculture. The use of pesticides is necessary for agriculture from an economic and operational perspective, according to the government. Ontario farmers already have stringent rules on the use, handling, storage and application of pesticides, through the Grower Pesticide Safety Course, which requires all growers to take a course every five years before being able to buy crop protection products. Interestingly enough, however, these trained farmers may not apply those same products to their own vegetable gardens and lawns.

Farmers are concerned that the Ontario government will move to limit crop protection products in agriculture as well, a move that will dramatically impact their ability to produce food.
More than 250 pesticide products are banned for sale and over 95 pesticide ingredients are banned for cosmetic uses under the new law. The provincial ban overrides any municipal pesticide bylaws already in place.

For more information on pesticide use in agriculture and Ontario’s Pesticide Education Program for farmers, please contact AGCare at 519-837-1326 or .

CANOLA SCHOOL: Early Irrigation Management

June 27, 2009

Early irrigation management is very important to achieving yield targets. Matt Stanford of the Canola Council of Canada, provides great insight into how to properly manage your irrigation early on. Matt demonstrates the proper way to check for moisture and how to manage your wheel moves or pivots.

Plan to Attend the International Livestock Congress (ILC) at the Calgary Stampede

June 26, 2009

The Calgary Stampede is about celebrating our western roots and bringing out the inner cowboy in all of us. The Beef business continues to play a huge role in that history and will play a role in the future. On July 10th I will be attending the International Livestock Congress (ILC), Beef 2009: Firing Up Science and Innovation during the Stampede and based on what I am hearing from people you should too. There are many indutry related meeting through the season but ILC seems to draw the “people” in the business. Known as a great networking event, I am looking forward to trying to get a great handle on where the attendees and speakers think the Canadian beef business needs to move in the future.

ILC 2009 Speaker Lineup

I will be covering the event with video interviews and Twitter but I do encourage you to attend in person and view my coverage later as a reminder and archive. This will be similiar to my coverage of the Crop Production Show and Tiffin Conference earlier this year. I get invited to many industry events and the ILC 2009 is on my calendar for this year so I hope to see you there. If you want to meet up at the conference please send me an email.

Beef Market Update – Anne Dunford- Gateway Livestock Exchange

June 25, 2009

In todays Beef Market Update, Anne Dunford of the Gateway Livestock Exchange, talks about the US Cattle of Feed Report that was released last week and some of the outcomes to be expected from it through the summer.  

Please take the time to check out the services that Gateway Livestock Exchange provides to its clients.  

Crop Marketing Update – Jon Driedger – FarmLink Marketing Solutions

June 24, 2009
On Monday afternoon I had the opportunity to sit down with Jon Driedger, a market analyst with FarmLink Marketing Solutions in Winnipeg. A day before the Canadian StatsCan acreage Report was released, Jon provided great insight into the dynamics facing the grains, oilseeds and pulse markets this summer and fall in North America.  

A special thank to Jon for his time and comments. Please take the time to check out FarmLink Marketing Solutions — Maximizing profitability farm-wide, through informed marketing decisions.

US Cattle on Feed Report: Kevin Grier, George Morris Center

June 20, 2009

Yesterday, the US Cattle on Feed Report was released and in my opinion they should get the attention of producers but also consumers.  To get a better handle of the situation I asked Kevin Grier of the George Morris Center, to provide a summary:  

–Cattle and calves on feed inventory was 4 percent below June 1, 2008. 

–Placements in feedlots during May totaled 14 percent below 2008.  This is the second lowest placements for the month of May since the series began in 1996.

–Marketings of fed cattle during May totaled 9 percent below 2008.  This is the lowest fed cattle marketings for the month of May since the series began in 1996.

–The actual numbers were close to analysts’ pre-report estimates as tabulated in the Daily Livestock Report, June 18.  The placement total might be considered bullish for the deferred months which could result in futures getting a boost on Monday.

I would like to thank Kevin for his comments and encourage people to subscribe to any of Kevin’s publications; Canadian Cattle Buyer, Grocery Trade Review, Canadian Boxed Beef Report, Canadian Chicken Market Review or the Canadian Pork Review.

When "Urban Farms" Cross the Line

June 18, 2009

There is increased press and interest in the concept of “urban farms.” The preached benefits are community support, less fossil fuel use and the ever popular “its safer food.”Where I think we have crossed the line of common sense is that some cities in Ontario allow back yard chicken coops for urban egg production. People have we lost our minds? What would ever possess you to start an egg farm in your backyard? It surely is not food safety or trying to make your neighbours happy. Have you never heard of the grocery store? In the linked story an Owen Sound city councillor justifies this nonsense by stating,

“It speaks to food safety. It speaks to food security. It speaks to so many

I would say that it speaks to human kinds apparent lack intelligence. For those of us that are reasonable, it is fairly well understood that urban farms are not going to improve food security and safety in a country, city, town, or village anytime in the future.

For the sake of interest I called the City of Lethbridge Regulatory office and asked if I would be able to start a chicken farm in my back yard. The lady laughed and said no!! I told her who I was and asked her if this was a common request. She replied that they do get some requests every year from Lethbridge residents to have chickens, goats, sheep and ponies in their backyards. Do some of the urban residents of North America not trust the food system or are they thinking this will save them a dollar. Why not support the experts and buy from farmers and the grocery store. What is next, we don’t trust doctors and so we allow people to give each others surgeries.

Farming is a serious occupation that some discredit by thinking they can just do it themselves in a safer fashion. Lets not discredit the hard working people of rural areas by calling some lady that has 10 chickens in her back yard a farmer. This is no different than someone who has a 10 foot by 10 foot corn crop in their back yard is not a farmer….they are a gardener. Lets let some common sense prevail and quit this nonsense of cities like Guelph, Brampton and some US cities.

Support the REAL farmers!!

Hog Support is a Struggle in Manitoba

June 16, 2009

Talking to hog producers in Manitoba, there is a real head scratching issue taking place. Hog producers are strongly criticizing the provincial government for not stepping up to compensate hog farmers for this terrible economic environment. The province think that it is a Federal government issue but others disagree. My friend journalism friend Harry Siemens has a great audio monologue about how H1N1 has really affected producers in the short term but also has long term consumer affects. In Harry’s opinion the provincial government must step up and create a strong stability program to help hog farmers leave the business while enticing others to commit long term. Please check out Harry’s commentary.

Canola School: Creating a Spraying Strategy

June 12, 2009

Weed Identification is key before you spray your canola crop.  Depending on whether you have a glyphosate, liberty or clearfield tolerant variety, your spraying strategy may be different depending on what weeds are in the field.  In this edition o the Canola School Matt Stanford of the Canola Council talks about how forming a spraying strategy is the key to success.