INTRODUCTION: Rising with the biofuel tide
By Peter Darbishire
In mid October...
In mid October, we heard about a Canadian farmer who figured if so many
US acres are likely to be committed to produce biofuel crops, he was getting
set to buy land: commodity prices are heading up and land prices will
follow, he declared! The futures market watchers are sure to be making
projections this winter using the same line of logic and they, and our
farmer friend may be right.
In the meantime, looking for ways to improve farming techniques is what
we are concentrating on. Several stories in this issue look at fertilizer
and its use, as well as the sage advice of our columnist John Harapiak,
who has a warning about excessive use of ammonium sulphate. The plant
health vs. nutrition debate gets an airing too, with ideas about ergot,
what promotes it and what reduces it. As well, we have added a story to
fuel the biofuel discussion.
There's also a collective call to be careful about what we send to the
markets we serve. We are 'on notice' that some traits in varieties introduced
some time ago are not welcomed by some importers. There are two positive
answers and one negative: we can decide to grow what the market demands,
within the tolerances it stipulates; we can keep records to show we are
able to do it consistently; …or we can kiss our markets goodbye!
If more commodity crop acres are going to be converted to biofuel production,
the demand for sources of quality and even end-use specific food grains
and oilseeds will rise as well. -30-
Peter Darbishire, Publisher and editor