Canadian grain farmers planting in a ‘cloud of uncertainty’

Tillage farmers around the world are facing into a difficult summer and harvest.

A recent agri-recovery initiative launched in Canada on May 5 has not done anything to help tillage farmers according to Crosby Devitt, the CEO of the Grain Farmers of Ontario.

He spoke to CTV News last week after the Federal Government of Canada announced that it is to provide $252 million in new federal assistance for Canadian farmers and the agri-food sector which has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The aim of the fund is to redistribute food and protect workers in food processing.

Grain farmers left out of announcement

Speaking on CTV News, Devitt stated: “Unfortunately there was really nothing in that announcement today that will help Ontario grain farmers. They were completely left out of the announcement today.”

He added that those farmers have crops in the ground and are planting “in a cloud of uncertainty”.

There is massive uncertainty in terms of the crop they’re planting right now when it comes to harvest in the fall whether there’ll be a market? What the price will be?

“Compounding that a lot of farmers will also have grain in their storage bins to sell before planting to be able to pay for their seed and their inputs.

“The movement of that grain in the marketplace has basically been disrupted and farmers cash-flow is affected, and as a result the price of the crops that they’re getting has dramatically dropped over the last few weeks since the Covid-19 crisis hit us.”

Devitt added that farmers need security and a backstop “to keep those farmers farming and allow them to plant in the next planting season”.

He added that “more loans are not going to help farmers at this time”.

Canada sells a large amount of maize to Ireland for use in animal feed. The situation in Canada is just one example of how grain farmers and grain prices are being affected across the globe.

Irish farmers should be aware of and take into account current world grain markets, weather and crop areas when deciding to sell their grain and on what to spend on inputs.