Latest articles


Making sure you get paid

Recent changes to the marketing system have prompted the entrance of new players, so it’s worth a refresher on who guarantees payment for grain, and for how long

Grain producers protect the investment they’ve planted, fertilized, watched grow, harvested and taken the pains to safely store, but it’s the Canada Grain Act that’s supposed to ensure financial protection from buyers that go bust or act unscrupulously. Farmers have never had to worry about payment from the large elevator companies which have historically dominated […] Read more


It’s been a good few years in the bin business

Crops have been getting larger, but the elevator system has gone in the other direction, forcing farmers to add more of their own storage

Prairie farmers can’t seem to get enough on-farm storage, and the trend is likely to continue but with ever-growing bin sizes. As farms grow, so too do their storage needs, says Lyle Muyres, vice-president, marketing for CORR Grain Systems Statistics Canada’s 2016 Census of Agriculture confirms operations are getting larger, with producers increasing their farm […] Read more



Open market, but not-so-open information

Five years post-CWB, farmers are still waiting for information that puts them on a more even position with the companies buying their grain

The characters in the play “Waiting for Godot” and Prairie grain market transparency apparently have something in common — waiting for something that never arrives. It’s been five years since the end of the Canadian Wheat Board monopoly, when one of the goals was to expose Prairie wheat and barley growers to the mechanisms of […] Read more


The sustainability conundrum

In the Western world at least, there’s a big demand for ‘sustainably sourced’ products. What that means, or receiving a premium for them, is another matter

The food giants want it on their labels, and in the annual reports and other information they send to their investors. PepsiCo, Walmart, General Mills, McDonald’s, Unilever, Sara Lee and Nestlé are among those citing the years 2020 or 2025 as targets for achieving their goals of buying “sustainably sourced” products. But what does that […] Read more



How’s the crop?

That’s the question that StatsCanada asks 10,000 farmers, but increasingly, the grain trade doesn’t believe the answers

It’s become a predictable pattern. Statistics Canada releases a crop estimate. Reporters call traders and analysts for reaction, who inevitably say it’s either too high or too low. That reflects a general dissatisfaction with StatsCan’s time-consuming system of contacting 10,000 farmers to ask how their crop is doing. Replacing a survey-based crop report with technology-sourced […] Read more


If you want to dispute a grain grade

If you don’t like the grade at the elevator, you can appeal to the Grain Commission, but most farmers choose to shop around for the best deal

It’s their legal right under the Canada Grain Act — if farmers don’t like the grade their elevator manager offers, they can appeal to the Canadian Grain Commission for an official ruling. But not many do. “In 35 years of buying grain, I’ve only had it once or twice with guys that I’ve dealt with,” […] Read more




grain elevator

It’s buyer’s choice when it comes to your grain

Getting and keeping your farm on your elevator's 'first-call' list is harder than ever

With the competition heating up among farmers trying to sell their grain, and also among the elevators trying to buy it, relationship building between buyers and sellers has never been more important to business success for grain and oilseed producers. It’s why dropping in to say a friendly hello every few months is no longer […] Read more



The malting lottery continues

Having barley accepted for malting has never been a sure thing, and that’s still the case following changes to the marketing system

Malting barley can be one of the most profitable crops in Western Canada — if you can grow it, and if you can sell it. That’s not necessarily easy. Many farmers try — it’s estimated that 80 per cent of the barley sown in Western Canada is seeded to malting varieties. But only about 20 […] Read more


Malted Barley grains

The chicken and egg scenario of new barley varieties

Maltsters will buy new barley varieties if farmers will grow them. Farmers will grow them if maltsters will buy them

When ordering a beer these days, your choice is no longer just a couple of same-tasting brands from big national or international breweries. North Americans have developed a taste for “craft” beers from an ever-expanding list of smaller breweries. Different beers need different malts, which creates a demand for different varieties of malting barley. But […] Read more