Another successful Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show (COFS) has come to an end, and Farmtario wanted to share some musings and farmer perspectives we collected.
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Thoughts from the farm show
John Greig, Farmtario’s senior editor, has attended most of the Canada’s Outdoor Farm Shows in the past 25 years.
Here are a few of his observations from conversations over the past few days:
- Like many Canadians, I feel a level of uncertainty from the industry after a decade of overall decent returns in farming in Ontario. Interest rates are a concern. Fallout from the decline in the global hog market (due to the return of China to large volumes of hog production), with particular impact in Quebec is a concern for its down-stream impacts on farmers and suppliers. There are some worries about input prices remaining higher as commodity prices are predicted to go lower. However, there’s also remains a level of buoyancy in the farm community, higher, I think than that in the general public.
- Kubota is well on its way to becoming a full-line equipment dealer, as is its goal.
- Equipment supplies have come back, judging from the huge volume of farm machinery, technology and supplies at the show.
- The show felt like there were more younger people. It wasn’t just me and my age – several other people mentioned that to me. That shows that despite some doom and gloom, younger people, especially younger families, are engaged in agriculture.
- I expect there’s going to be a big jump in drone use once they are cleared to spray pesticides. Drone manufacturers and operators have been practicing with other products to apply, and believe there’s a business case for drones as applicators, especially of fungicides.
Below: Felix Weber, Ag Business and Crop Inc. president, demonstrates how easily the XAG P100 pro drone transitions from an augered spreading system to a liquid tank. Video: Diana Martin
Views from the Farm Show
Farmtario asked producers three questions during COFS: What are the top three challenges on your farm, how are you managing rising input costs, and what are their thoughts on the government focusing funding on sustainability rather than yield like they used to?
Here is the response from two farmers we spoke to:
Ethan Wallace, dairy farmer, Huron County
His top three concerns are rising interest rates, labour and trade issues.
“Dairy has been sacrificed in three subsequent trade deals for the benefit of other industries, and some of those benefits have never come to fruition. I’m more of a proponent of do no harm. Gains in one industry shouldn’t come at the cost of another industry. Across the board in agriculture, we need to build everybody up.” said Wallace.
As a dairy farmer, Wallace maximized manure efficiency to keep inputs low without sacrificing yield or profit. He is happy to utilize sustainability programs to be profitable and set his kids up for success in the future.
“We need to be sustainable and profitable – I think those two go hand in hand,” he said. “Yield is great, but if it costs you the farm to get that yield, it’s not necessarily the best practice.”
Kyle Burnett, cash crop, Denfield
Burnett, who grows soybeans, corn and wheat on 1,500 acres, said the three most significant challenges for his operation this year are weather, labour and inflation. With the price of everything rising, including inputs, Burnett said they’ve pulled back in certain areas.
“We’ve definitely scaled back on the fertilizer side of things,” he said. “We just didn’t put as much on. We’ll know this year when we get into the field whether it went well.”
The wheat crop did well, he added. Burnett didn’t weigh in on the sustainability versus yield funding focus.
Look for more of these perspectives in October 1 Farmtario.