Latest articles


Farm groups blast grain commission for refusing to give back surplus

Federal grain agency plans to spend $90 million on more services, but farm leaders want fees reduced

Alberta’s wheat and barley commissions and the Grain Growers of Canada are unhappy that the Canadian Grain Commission won’t be giving back $90 million in surplus service fees it collected from Prairie farmers. “Over the past five to six years, the Canadian Grain Commission has built up a surplus of funds based on user fees […] Read more


Grain commission tweaks grading tests for start of new crop year

New test for assessing mildew and heat/frost stress will prevent unnecessary downgrading of wheat

Grading factors for mildew and heat/frost stress when grading western Canadian wheat will be tweaked starting Aug. 1, the start of the 2018-19 crop year, the Canadian Grain Commission has announced. “It’s not a significant difference,” said Daryl Beswitherick, the grain commission’s program manager for quality assurance standards and reinspection. “The frequency of the factors […] Read more



Where did GM wheat found in Alberta come from?

So far, there seems to be no logical explanation on how the GM wheat came to exist

The mystery over how seven plants of genetically modified wheat wound up growing next to an Alberta field access road will take some time to unravel. This high-tech whodunit has regulators scratching their heads to figure out how a known glyphosate-resistance gene from Monsanto got into an unknown variety of wheat hundreds of kilometres from […] Read more


Japan still trusts Canadian wheat system, say officials

Country is a top wheat customer and will continue to be despite GM wheat incident, they say

Relationships still matter when it comes to trade, and Alberta officials say those will be key in re-establishing wheat sales with one of the country’s biggest buyers. No sooner had news broken that a small number of genetically modified wheat plants had been found in Alberta than industry reps were arranging to meet with officials […] Read more



A new day dawns and hope blossoms for Prairie grain farmers

The proof will be in the pudding, but farm leaders and grain companies agree the ‘building blocks’ are there

It’s a battle that took more than a decade to wage — but producers should see the benefits of the new grain transportation law this fall, says a pair of Alberta farm leaders. “I expect we’ll see advantages right away,” said Alberta Wheat chair Kevin Bender. “When the previous government brought in previous legislation after […] Read more


VIEW FROM THE NORTH: Small pond, big ripples

There could be some benefits in some areas, but the downsides are many and could seriously disrupt markets

China’s tariffs on American pork and soybeans will have impacts here, although how exactly is an open question. “It affects our producers because our hog prices are set off of the U.S. market,” said provincial pork specialist Ron Gietz after their imposition earlier this month. The tariffs sent American prices plunging, with Canadian prices following […] Read more



Richardson pullout roils canola sector

Alberta Canola backs council, saying its marketing efforts and agronomic support are key to canola’s success

Richardson International’s decision not to renew its membership means a big financial hit for the Canola Council of Canada, but it could have been even worse. According to several reliable sources, Viterra had planned to leave too, but changed course — possibly because of a big cut in membership fees. Losing Canada’s two biggest grain […] Read more


Grain commission proposes 24 per cent cut to major user fees

But Alberta Barley wants fees eliminated for a year while Alberta Wheat wants better testing at elevators

The Canadian Grain Commission will cut its two major user fees Aug. 1 — but an Alberta farm group says it needs to do more to whittle down a massive surplus accumulated over the last three years. If implemented, the combined fees for officially inspecting and weighing ships exporting Canadian grain will drop by 44 […] Read more



Changes to wheat classes could hit you in the pocketbook

The Big Shuffle: The bar has been raised for the CPS and CWRS classes, which means some old favourites may sell at a discount

It turns out the customer is always right — at least when it comes to Canada’s wheat classification system. “Concerns from our overseas clients about gluten strength” has prompted a revamp of the wheat classification system, said Mark MacNaughton, director of field crops for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. “The Canadian Grain Commission has changed the […] Read more


Pulses’ popularity points to bright future

The boom in pulse acres may just be getting started thanks to rising demand, better varieties, and strong profitability

Only one hand shot up when Neil Whatley asked a recent crop tour near Castor if anyone was growing lentils this year. Luckily, a more rigorous Statistics Canada survey tells the real story — there are a whole lot of hands growing lentils this year. “There’s close to six million acres on the Prairies this […] Read more