A spring like no other.
Dan Hawkins, grain marketing advisor in the Swift Current region, discusses spring considerations for farmers in southwestern Saskatchewan. He talks about the good, the bad, and the ugly.
While there are still risks, optimism is high, and farmers are getting ready to plant!
As one producer put it, “this is the first time in 10 years input prices are down.”
The 2019 US planting problems coupled with 2019 harvest problems caused a glut of fertilizer in the pipeline for the typical N-P-K sources, resulting in lower fertilizer costs.
Diesel fuel is at $0.60 per litre. Most clients cannot remember the last time it was this low. As a result, every fuel tank on every farm has been topped off and there is not a bulk fuel tank to be found for sale anywhere.
Prices are up on many commodities and attractive new crop prices can be locked in.
A portion of some key inputs such as glyphosate are sourced out of China, and the Coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) created a hiccup. Reports say the product is on its way, but it’s only expected to reach Saskatchewan by the end of April. Farmers are stocking up on what they can, while they can.
Strikes continue at the COOP Oil Upgrader in Regina. While no one has spoken of it for a while, this is still an ongoing issue that could threaten summer fuel supplies.
The supply chain to port is still an issue for us. We rely on three provinces for export: British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec – all of which are dealing with COVID-19.
The health of workers is of key concern. Competent farm labour is in short supply at the best of times, and COVID-19 could take employees out for 14 days at a time. Some farms in the area rely on foreign labourers from Mexico which may not come, and those that do will have to self-isolate for 14 days.
We have been treated to an early April snowfall and an extended period of cooler temperatures. At this point, getting to the field in mid-April is likely out of the question and will be delayed until late April early May.