Latest articles

Opinion: Winners and losers

We should take a much harder look at those yield contests

The following is my opinion. Enough said. This started out as a column that was going to extol the farming abilities of some of the winners of canola growing contests. But as I talked with farmers about how they achieved their amazingly high yields, it became clear to me the highest yield isn’t really the […] Read more

Young man choosing oranges in the supermarket

The new consumer value

While farmers take pride in producing high-quality crops at affordable prices, consumers have moved on

In my previous article I suggested that farmers need some fresh thinking about the value they are producing for the consumer. Unfortunately, the majority of North American farmers still value their production only on the basis of quality and price, whereas research shows that only about half of consumers now base their food purchasing decisions […] Read more

Young farmer in soybean fields

Re-think the basics

An investment broker who cold-called me last month was more than a bit miffed by the time we hung up. Here’s why

During his sales pitch, the investment broker on the phone asked me what the value of land was where I farm. I told him I didn’t know. He sounded peeved and he questioned how as a farmer I could not know the cost of land in my area. I replied that he had not asked […] Read more

High Clearance Sprayer

Glyphosate: the real science

Will new studies that confirm the safety of glyphosate actually stop politicians from banning an essential herbicide?

The study published in the November 9, 2017 Journal of the National Cancer Institute is crystal clear. Called “Glyphosate Use and Cancer Incidence in the Agricultural Health Study”, it says: “In conclusion, we found no evidence of an association between glyphosate use and risk of any solid tumours or lymphoid malignancies, including NHL (Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma) […] Read more

Hand over wheat field in early summer evening.

Finding success

Are we chasing a dream, or living one?

This fall a salesman for a soil amendment product told me that if I used his product, I would be more successful. When I asked him if anyone around was using the product, he replied: “Some of the most successful farmers use it.” In past, salespeople have often told me that using their products will […] Read more

Farmer Walking Through Field Checking Wheat Crop

Join the fight for consumer trust

Every farmer should be in the habit of telling non-farmers to check out

Early on the evening of April 13, 1970, Jack Swigert, pilot of Apollo 13’s command module, radioed the now famous phrase, “I believe we’ve had a problem here.” His words immediately set in motion the incredible teamwork needed to diagnose what had happened and to find a solution to a very serious situation. Since then, […] Read more

young farmer touching ripe golden wheat in field

How big is your market?

We must get better at understanding that the world’s commodity buyers have a growing range of options

How big is your world? Geographically, this is an easy question to answer with great precision. The diameter of the Earth at the equator is 12,756 km. Its circumference is 40,030 km along the equator, and 40,008 km through the poles. Thus the surface area of our planet is roughly 510 million sq. km. It’s […] Read more

Tractor spraying wheat field

‘Insurance’ spraying

A new study says most farmers can generate more profit by cutting back on crop protection. But wait… is it really that simple?

Today, we all recognize “recreational tillage” as a phrase we use to criticize farmers who haven’t been paying attention to how we’ve learned that we can put an end to a lot of excessive tillage, thereby reducing soil erosion, fuel and equipment costs, and manpower requirements. But now we need to ask: Is “recreational spraying” […] Read more

The next big disruption in agriculture

Sometimes a shock to the system can be a very good thing

In the business world, there’s a term to describe an event that completely changes an existing industry or market. It’s called a disruptor, and it changes how we think, work, and do business. It can be argued that agriculture has gone through three major disruptions in the last century: the mechanization of farming; the arrival […] Read more

Let’s get real on solar energy

Despite the skeptics, these two farms prove that solar energy is likely to be the foundation of our commercial farms for generations to come

In the last issue of Country Guide I made a case for solar power. I tried to show that economics of solar power are improving and that it is becoming a viable source of electricity. More importantly, I pointed out that society is demanding a switch away from fossil fuels, and that countries around the world […] Read more