The 2013 growing season has all the makings of a banner year for local growers if conditions cooperate, so says a grain markets analyst speaking in Veteran on Friday.
The tenth anniversary celebration of Eagle Agro held on Friday, January 11 featured more than a great dinner and a valuable networking opportunity for local growers. Journalist and farm market guru Mike Jubinville was on hand to give his thoughts on the current state of the world grain market and how it impacts local producers.
Jubinville’s message was one of cautious optimism and a call to keep an eye on what the rest of the world is doing.
Keeping expectations in check is key, as is keeping current good fortunes in perspective.
“We’ve reached some pretty high markets relative to history and we’ve done this on the back of some pretty significant production problems by major world producers over the last few years,” Jubinville said. He went on to state that worldwide production is destined to eventually return to normal levels.
“I just want people to be aware that the prices we’re seeing today may not be the ones we see a year from now. We need to take steps to start protecting ourselves from that reality.”
Part of Jubinville’s advice is to keep an open mind to future markets — not only at home, but globally.
“We consider western Canada as an important producer of wheat when we actually represent about five per cent of global production,” he said. “We’re important, but the price of these markets will never be determined solely by what western Canadian conditions are.”
While oilseed and pulse crops are popular and described by Jubinville as “always profitable,” he sees growers returning to a tried, tested and true staple of western Canada grain farming.
“Wheat is starting to emerge again,” he said. “Over the years, growers have gone so far on Canola that they’ve pushed their agronomic rotations to almost dangerous levels.”
“You can’t continue to do that without repercussions,” Jubinville added. “I think we’re seeing a shift back towards some cereal grains because of that.”
Jubinville’s presentation was organized by Eagle Agro Services in celebration of their tenth year of operations.
Founded in 2002, the agricultural services company has seen firsthand the effects the cyclical grain markets can have on local producers.
“We’ve seen a lot of what goes on,” said Jaron Bye, co-owner of Eagle Agro Services. “We’ve had some challenges in the past — two droughts and a commodity collapse in 2008. That was a double hit in our area.”
Bye added that the strength of local producers lies in their diversity. Many producers are mixing both animal and plant based production to help insulate themselves from changes in the marketplace.
“Grain markets are strong and cattle markets are strong,” he said. “That bodes well for everyone in this local economy.”