FARMERS FOCUS ARABLE PRODUCER-RICHARD CREW

After the snow melted, a fine, dry but frosty spell allowed us to complete harvest on Nov 10. And are we glad to see the end of it?

The flax was depressing. Sheltered areas yielded over 2.5t/ha against the three-year average of 1.2t/ha, but only 20% of the 120ha (300 acres) was that good. The rest was just as thick, but ran in at 0-0.5t/ha, with 35% dockage of frosted seeds and small heads.

Oct 31 was decision day on whether to sign an “A” series contract for our wheat with the Canadian Wheat Board. Two days earlier the CWB dropped its PRO (provisional return outlook) prices to £30.90/t for feed wheat. S

ome growers with very low bushel weight wheat have been told there is no market at all for it and are baling the swaths for feed and claiming on their crop insurance. I have signed a contract for 600t as Grade 3 for £54.11/t on the assurance of the elevator that if it”s not up to that grade we will be released from the contract.

 All Canadian wheat is assessed for grade on its visual appearance and protein, but not Hagberg. One Manitoba grower took some wheat, which had been graded by four elevators in Canada as feed, across the border to North Dakota, where it was graded number two hard red spring wheat purely because of its Hagberg.

Two years ago, the CWB used Hagberg to downgrade sprouted wheat, but can we use it to our advantage now? Of course not.

I fear our wheat will leave Vancouver as feed for the Far East, where it will no doubt be made into bread.

 It costs the Canadian grain farmer 29.9m (C$66.6m) to run the CWB – that”s 350 (C$784) for each permit book holder to be sold short when the quality is there. It”s another case of self-interested fat cats forgetting the farmers who pay their salaries.