Latest articles


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



So history repeats itself

Consider for a moment what Canadian agriculture would look like today if farmers had never made the switch from horse power to tractor power. It isn’t such an absurd idea if you understand why farmers here actually resisted mechanization when it first appeared roughly a century ago. An interesting read is the text of the […] Read more


Spraying machine working on the green field

Goodbye glyphosate?

A flood of cancer suits in the U.S. threatens to topple farmers’ most valuable herbicide

Last September I warned readers of a growing public backlash against glyphosate herbicide, and I wrote of the co-ordinated attack on glyphosate by Avaaz, an online activist community that is claiming credit for the refusal by European regulators to renew the licence for glyphosate, instead only granting an 18-month extension to the expiring licence. But […] Read more



Giving our business to India

If we won’t grow our own organic food, these small farmers are more than ready to step in. In fact, they already are

Once again my perception of our agricultural industry has been rocked by international travel. This time it was a visit to India in December that challenged my perception of organic production and marketing. First on my list was a cashew processor in Mangalore on India’s west coast. Canadians might be taken aback when they see […] Read more


Close up of man reading at the digital tablet

Before you believe it

Because our vulnerability to misinformation is growing every day, the easy-to-use SMELL test needs to become like an app that we turn on every time we connect to the web, listen to a radio, or even talk to each other

If our food looks bad, tastes bad, or smells bad, we won’t eat it. So why don’t we treat information the same way? After all, we are told information is power. Information has value. Information is essential to modern society. So if information “smells” bad, shouldn’t we be wary of consuming it as well? Dr. […] Read more



Russia takes on the world

Millions of acres in Russia had been waiting for someone to farm them. Now they’re bursting with grain

For many Canadian grain growers, this year’s weather concerns, disease pressure, high input costs, and low crop prices made it seem like we’ve already been facing the perfect storm. However, there is an even bigger threat on the horizon — Russia. In the first week of October, while most Canadian growers were still busy with […] Read more


wheat heads

Russia’s (grain) strengths… and weaknesses

Strengths Russia is blessed with many advantages that strengthen its position as a wheat exporter: Russian wheat production is in close proximity to Egypt and Turkey — two of the world’s largest wheat importing markets. There is ample arable land — Russia possesses almost 10 per cent of the world’s arable land (122 m ha). […] Read more