GFM Network News


Truckers appreciate improved grain storage areas and equipment, and more room to manoeuvre Super-Bs.

The view from the driver’s seat

The grain storage and transportation system depends more than ever on truckers. Here’s how that looks from their side of the windshield

Discussions about Prairie grain transportation efficiency tend to focus on railways, railways — and railways. Often lost in the century-plus-old feud between farmers and the railroads is the connection between them — the truckers. The system can’t get along without them, and they’ve become even more important due to elevator and branch line closures. We […] Read more

The falling number test requires laboratory-like conditions, and is usually only done at selected central locations when there is a general concern about sprout damage.

Better than meets the eye?

Canada’s quality-control system still has a lot of support, but some are calling for grades to be determined by machines, not the human eye

Is that No. 2 CWRS just as good for milling and baking as a No. 1? Or does that No. 1 CWRS have some quality damage that can’t be seen with the naked eye, making it no better than a No. 2? The answer could be yes in both cases, sometimes, in cases that might […] Read more


AAC Connect (left) offers moderate resistance to fusarium, making it attractive for the eastern Prairies. CDC Bow (right) has good standability, but its susceptibility to fusarium makes it more of a candidate for the western Prairies.

Maltsters keen on promising new barley varieties

The recommended malting list for 2018 contains varieties with better agronomics than Copeland and Metcalfe

For a change, it’s not just farmers who are eagerly greeting new malting barley varieties. Maltsters, too, are singing the praises of emerging varieties intended to replace the big two. The Canadian Malting Barley Technical Centre’s 2018-19 list of recommended malting barley varieties emphasizes growing demand for AAC Synergy, plus two new varieties, AAC Connect […] Read more

Major elevator companies have rarely if ever defaulted on payment, but it’s worth remembering that even they don’t guarantee beyond 90 days.

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

When the wheat board monopoly ended, so did clearance associations reporting how much grain was being loaded to which vessels arriving or waiting at the West Coast and Thunder Bay.

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

This satellite-gathered image shows the raw Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for Western Canada on July 25, 2016.

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


Few producers use the Canadian Grain Commission’s procedures for appealing a grade at the elevator, but 8,000 to 10,000 a year use the free Harvest Sample Program to determine their grade before shopping their grain to different buyers.

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