Farmer Focus: Saskatchewan economy’s booming

Two years ago Saskatchewan was classified as a “Have not Province”. Now we are nick-named Saska-Boom, as the economy is booming on the back of high commodity prices – for oil, potash, uranium and agricultural grains.

If Saskatchewan was a country it would be sixth in G8 export sales.

Just north of our farm, in a 50sq mile area, helicopters are towing seismic rings, and drilling rigs are making the ground seem like Emmental cheese as they assess the extent of a deep potash seam for a proposed new mine.

Petrol is now 72p/litre and people are grumbling about fuel prices. But every barrel extracted from the Weyburn area and the northern tar sands is helping meet demand.

On the flip side, oil and gas royalties bring £2bn a year to the provincial economy for tax cuts and improvements to infrastructure.

All crops raced through their growth stages in last month’s ideal conditions.

Oat herbicides were the last applied, on 26 June, and two days later I was starting over again spraying flag leaf fungicides on spring wheat.

All cereals are having Headline (pyraclostrobin) and the Canola will get Lance (boscalid) against sclerotinia at 30% flowering.

At Regina’s Farm Progress Show, enquiries about replacing our 12-year old seeder were met with: “If you order now, it could be delivered by spring 2010.” Such is the increase in demand and the desperate shortage of skilled welders disappearing to the oil patch.

That show is a static one on the tarmac of the car parks and large multiplex of the Regina hockey stadium.

How I miss the working demos and trial plots of the UK Cereals event. Maybe next year I’ll be there with a group of Canadian farmers. It should be a sight to see their jaws drop at the show’s scope.

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