Introduction TCME February 2010
In spite of all that life, markets and society can throw at producers, optimism on the farm is still something of a redundancy. Farm producers are pragmatic at heart,
By Ralph Pearce
In spite of all that life, markets and society can throw at producers, optimism on the farm is still something of a redundancy. Farm producers are pragmatic at heart, yet they are perennial optimists. Every year, just about this time, the meetings and conferences play host to growers and myriad farm publications offer opinions and learned spins on agronomy and plant breeding, trends and technology, and market potential. And through it all, the market prices dictate the coming growing season, always with that dose of reality, which would normally blunt the spirit of anyone not involved in agriculture. Yet growers continue to find the light, hopefully make the right assumptions, read the right forecasts on the season ahead and prosper in spite of all that nature can do to challenge them.
Since late 2007, commodity prices have been relatively stable and well above cost of production values. They have been the cause of a considerable degree of optimism in farming circles and, unfortunately, the butt of negative commentary from endless business columnists and spin doctors, most of whom understand very little of the reality facing producers. In fact, the majority of detractors only see economic stability on the farm linked weakly to the prospect of higher food costs. The unwritten theory of Canada’s “Cheap Food Policy” takes some of the shine off of the “Better Times” of the past two years.
It is not a very pleasant response, but then again, not a very surprising one, either.
All good things…
Now, thanks to a bountiful corn and soybean harvest in the US, the prices for both have declined since December 2009, with wheat following suit. And while some growers may start researching the prospects for oats or flax or canola, most will stick to their rotations, in spite of price fluctuations and market speculation. As they do every year, they will watch for those weather-related opportunities, lock-in some of their crops at various prices and forge ahead when the ground is fit within the next two months.
In other words, they will continue doing the job they do so well.
And that is why I love being a part of this industry!
Hope springs eternal or spring hope’s eternal?
It is with a fond look forward that we bring you our annual Corn Focus edition, in this, our Early Spring Issue. In addition to our lineup of stories geared to corn and agronomic insight, we are pleased to include Howard Elmer’s perspectives on four new truck lines, which he has tested and rated with his usual straightforward and unbiased view. We are also adding to our lineup of Machinery Manager features, with Air Seeders & Drills in this edition.
As always, it is my wish that you find this issue informative and useful, and a resource worth keeping close as you move forward into spring and throughout 2010.
Top Crop Manager