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What a difference a year makes – or does it?

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.


March 1, 2010
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, and 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.

Two years ago, I attended Crop Production Week in Saskatoon. It was my first foray into the West, and it certainly opened my eyes to the diversity and optimism of western Canadian agriculture. The price of canola was up, wheat was stable and there was rampant optimism regarding pulses, and in particular, lentils. The positive energy at the conference was almost overwhelming.

This year, I learned that optimism, perhaps a little guarded, was still alive and well at this year’s edition of the show. Thanks to a bountiful corn and soybean harvest in the US, wheat prices were beginning to fall, and word in the West was that canola prices were also likely to deflate in the wake of a surprisingly good harvest in 2009.

Where would growers turn now?
According to my informant, our Western Sales Manager, Kevin Yaworsky, there was still interest in lentils, and oats were the subject of conversation among those attending the week’s proceedings.

While critics might stress the need for growers not to rush to a “crop of the year,” I was nonetheless impressed that optimism still reigns in agriculture. Year after year, the market tells growers that corn is popular, or not, that canola is in greater demand, or that there is an oversupply.  And year after year, growers look to the land, get a read on the market, make the call, and somehow continue to do the job most of them do so well.

Hope springs eternal or spring hope’s eternal?
It is with a fond look forward that we bring you our annual Pulse Focus edition, in this, our Early Spring Issue. In addition to our lineup of stories geared to pulses 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 line-up of Machinery Manager features, with Air Seeders and 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.


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