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Introduction: TCME Aug 2009

The past six months have yielded a fair share of news stories that have talked in glowing terms of the tremendous value in agriculture. Not as a statement of the cost of our food, which is shamefully low, but for the economic stability created by the biofuels sector or investment funds buying up farmland, not to mention agriculture’s profile as one of the sectors that has been relatively unscathed by the recession.


September 15, 2009
By Ralph Pearce


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The past six months have yielded a fair share of news stories that have talked in glowing terms of the tremendous value in agriculture. Not as a statement of the cost of our food, which is shamefully low, but for the economic stability created by the biofuels sector or investment funds buying up farmland, not to mention agriculture’s profile as one of the sectors that has been relatively unscathed by the recession.

Yet despite the agri-food industry’s sense of optimism, reality tends to bring everyone back to earth rather unceremoniously, and the killjoy in this case has been the weather during this Summer of 2009. For all that a grower can do to ensure timely planting as well as optimize fertilizer and weed control applications, the skies above hold the final say. 


What the farmer “doeth,” the weather can “taketh” away.

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What makes it all the more frustrating is not a lack of moisture or a surplus; in a time when the term “global warming” is reaching a saturation point in so many circles, it is the lack of warmth that is the greatest cause for concern. And yet it is not for lack of sunshine, just heat.


Still, the only response for growers is, has and always will be, a shrug of the shoulders, maybe a cross word at the weather forecast from The Weather Network, Environment Canada or from points south of the border, and the sense of resignation that says, “But there’s nothing we can do about it.”

The future’s so bright…
In spite of the frustrations of the growing season, there is still cause for considerable optimism in agriculture, beyond talk of its place in the “next economy.” Enrolment at University of Guelph’s Ridgetown College campus is on the rise, indicating greater interest and opportunity. London’s Fanshawe College recently turned out its first graduates from its biotechnology applied degree program. And there are new technologies now available that will help growers increase their efficiency on the farm, and manage information and data in ways only a handful of visionaries could have dreamed possible.


It is these new aspects of agriculture that often keep our interest. The reality of the job can often drag growers back to the daily routine, forcing them to keep at least one eye on what is happening in the fields in front of them. Yet it is the novelty within the industry, the new technologies, the changing opportunities, that invite all of us to gaze a little longingly beyond the fence row for a glimpse of what is new.

Something new this issue
At Top Crop Manager, we try to do the same thing: we keep an eye on the here and now, focusing on our strengths, and from time to time, we look ahead, and introduce something that complements the overall value of our magazine. In this Cereal Focus issue, we are introducing the first of six Machinery Manager features, something we have successfully integrated into our Western Canada editions. By adding these features, we hope to enhance the value, not just for our readers, but for advertisers and other industry stakeholders. And to Bruce Barker, our Western Canada field editor, I would like to say “Thanks” for taking on the added responsibility of compiling these specs and other editorial material from the equipment manufacturers. His dedication and hard work, as well as that of our other contributors, helps provide added value, and hopefully even a little consistency; in a growing season where the weather is anything but consistent, it’s nice to have.


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