OUR THOUGHTS have been with the tsunami survivors and what could be done to alleviate their suffering. We wanted to somehow take a JCB there to help clear up the devastation.

This year is the centennial of the inauguration of the provinces of Saskatchewan and Alberta.

 It’s amazing the divergence of the two provinces since 1905. Most small towns have seen a huge shift in population westward in that time. Alberta has boomed, due to oil revenues and free enterprise, while Saskatchewan suffered under a Socialist government that drove investment away.

Now, according to provincial leaders, we are a “Have Province” on the back of oil, gas and potash mining, but we’re neglecting agriculture. That is manifestly shown in the 75%shortfall of the 40% provincial share of the CAIS (Canadian Agriculture Income Support) programme that the province has yet to commit to for the 2004 year.

We have eventually agreed to to participate in CAIS, as it now appears as long as we only have one disaster year in five, the need to achieve the highest possible price from sales in that year is negated by the “Olympic” averaging of the last five years” income.

With winter daytime temperatures averaging -30C, we have to keep the block heaters plugged in on the tractors and lorry, because a warm diesel is a happy diesel.

We have been piling up the 50cms of snow from around the bins to move 250t of wheat at the pitiful price of 30.48/t as feed wheat (due to frost damage), which was 13.5 protein and Hagbergs above 250.

This bin space is now occupied with cleaned six-row barley seed, while wheat and flax samples are away for germination and vigour testing prior to cleaning. richard.