Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm
Between The Rows

Perfect poultry, pollinator protection and notes on oats

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From Glacier FarmMedia’s multimedia special Seeding The Future, Lisa Guenther and Kristy Nudds take us into the mind of a man aiming to breed the perfect chicken while also preserving the diverse genetics found in birds along the way. Also: Matt McIntosh speaks with Ontario agronomist and beekeeper Jennifer Doelman about the benefits that can be harboured above ground level in buffer strips in your fields. And while Chicago oats recently punched up past US$6, Phil Franz-Warkentin explains how there’s not much connecting that drama directly to the Prairie cash market. Hosted by Dave Bedard.

Read the full transcript of this episode

Dave Bedard: [00:00:04] Hi and welcome to Between the Rows. I’ll be your host this week, Dave Bedard. This week, you’re going to hear a bit of a sneak preview of a new multimedia project we’ve been working on here at Glacier Farm Media. This project takes a closer look at the challenges facing farmers and breeders in preserving the world’s genetics in both crops and livestock. In this case, how does a person’s quest to breed the perfect chicken balance that drive for improved meat and egg production against preserving the genetic resources he found along the way?

Donald Shaver: [00:00:32] We called them gene pools, and they were populations, and I think maybe 100 females and 20 males that would just be maintained without selection or development in case they were ever needed.

Dave Bedard: [00:00:46] Also, we’ve heard about buffer strips as a way to prevent soil loss, but they can also offer up a habitat for some valuable field workers.

Jen Doleman: [00:00:53] They’re great. They work on weekends. They work like statutory holidays and all they ask for to to do their job well is some food place to stay and providing them with some really good snacks in our fields.

Dave Bedard: [00:01:13] And Chicago Oats futures seem to have been having a pretty good month, but given the limited size and scope of that particular futures market, it seems a pretty good month is in the eye of the beholder,

Paul Franz-Warkentin: [00:01:24] But it’s small volumes and the small volumes can lead to some wider price swings. But they do. Yeah, they keep it around because there are still people trading it.

Dave Bedard: [00:01:35] All this and more is coming up on Between the Rows after this.

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Dave Bedard: [00:02:13] Hello again. As I said, right off the top of the show, the editorial staff here at Glacier Farm Media have been working up a special multimedia project over the past several months. It’s called Seeding the Future and you’ll be seeing links to it on our sites in the not too distant future. It takes a look from multiple angles at the costs and benefits of preserving the world’s genetics in livestock as well as crops. And what you’re going to hear right now is a segment prepared by Lisa Guenther of Canadian cattlemen and Kristy Nudds of Farmtario called The Secret of Star-Crossed 288, a profile of the man now considered to be the godfather of modern poultry.

Lisa Guenther: [00:02:56] It’s Europe in nineteen forty four. Donald Shaver is leading a tank squadron, but even in the midst of World War Two, he’s got chickens on the brain

Donald Shaver: [00:03:07] All the time, I was away overseas. I was still getting the magazines sent to me and I was in my bedroom thinking about.

Peter Hunton: [00:03:18] He started keeping chickens while he was at school.

Lisa Guenther: [00:03:22] That’s Dr Peter Hunton. Peter worked for Donald for seven years before moving on to a career with the Ontario Egg Producers Marketing Board. Peter and Donald remain friends until Donald’s death in twenty eighteen.

Peter Hunton: [00:03:34] It was a vacant lot next to the house and he had. I’m not sure. I think he had permission to put a a little poultry house there, and he kept laying hens. And then he began in a very small way to breed them, and I think he became very enthusiastic.

Peter Hunton: [00:03:54] This wasn’t just some kid’s hobby. Donald’s laying hens showed real promise when he was 15. They want a national egg laying contest. When he enlisted, he left his stock with a friend in Long Island, but those plans went awry.

Peter Hunton: [00:04:11] And when I was in Rome, Italy, in 1944, I got a letter from him saying the plant had burned down. So all the stock was lost. That in itself was a good thing because I was forced to restart and go for new genetic material. And I managed to persuade many old, well-known breeders to sell me pure lines. That’s the thing that wasn’t widely done At the time because they did want to create competitors.

Lisa Guenther: [00:04:57] That was a pivotal moment. Many people would have given up on the business of birds, but not Donald Schaefer. He not only rebuilt his stocks, he improved them in a big way. And you can’t help wondering if losing those birds helped inspire a passion for conserving genetics throughout his career. More on that later. The birds shaped Donald’s life in other ways to. He talked about standing in his tank, taking in the devastation and wondering how the world would rebuild. That made him realize that his business could be international in scope. And you learned from working with his fellow soldiers to.

Donald Shaver: [00:05:42] But I always got great satisfaction out of getting a group to work together, without forcefully doing that, encouraging them, to commend them to think in their own individual way about what confronted us and that worked very well in action. The regiment was a big family and a good regiment had that feeling in a very strong sense 

Lisa Guenther: [00:06:17] What was Donald Shaver like as a person? His friend, Peter, describes him as follows.

Peter Hunton: [00:06:22] He was extremely quiet, spoken, very low key to to listen to. But he was extremely knowledgeable. He was self-taught and almost everything in business. And he was no slouch in science, even though he had no post-secondary education. By the time he died, he had three honorary doctorates

Lisa Guenther: [00:06:45] In nineteen sixty four. Article from MacLean’s describes him as follows. His defeats and his success have their genesis in the fact that he was once a major in the tank corps and seldom forgets it is low white red roof chicken hatchery and two chicken breeding farms near the little Ontario city of Galt are his headquarters. His general manager and ex-servicemen, like most Schaefer staffers, is his GI. Peters says that Donald worked nearly 24/7. Soon, Schaefer, poultry breeding farms had branches all over the world. By 1960, 80 percent of sales were exports. The McLean’s article noted that Donald traveled the world three times in 18 months. In fact, he traveled so much that when he sat down at a theater, he automatically reached for his seatbelt.

Peter Hunton: [00:07:34] But he kept in touch while he was away. We didn’t have email that time, but we had telex and he would telex the farm managers and anybody else who was doing things to tell them what to do or what they had done wrong. So he he was a tough guy to work for.

Donald Shaver: [00:08:19] I had a bad reputation, you have to understand this because whenever I hired a scientist he ended up in overalls for 3 months and some of them, I remember one gentleman who actually had been an administer of Agriculture in his country and he resented the fact that he had to go out on the farm and work with his hands for about the first three to four weeks.  Then he saw the virtue of it.   I said to him, these fellows need to respect you they need to respect you as man first, as a scientist secondly. 

Lisa Guenther: [00:08:53] Whatever you may think of his management style, Donald was a major influence in the poultry industry. He survived the post-war consolidation, which saw over a hundred other poultry breeders in Ontario vanish. Chickens and turkeys changed dramatically in those years, too. In the early part of the 20th century, chickens were raised both for their eggs and meat. Then poultry breeders started developing more specialized birds suited either for egg laying or meat production. Egg layers produced more and more eggs, meat, birds grew faster with more breast meat to satisfy consumer demand. That meant more meat and eggs at a lower price for consumers. This has led to some unintended consequences, such as leg problems in birds and turkey. But breeders have been working to offset those issues through selection over the last 30 years. Donald saw success with his meat birds, but he’s probably best known for an egg layer. Known as a starcrossed 288

David Shaver: [00:09:53] We had a competition with the staff of what this bird would be called, and then one of the girls in the office thought that we should not just call it Shaver but call it what it was a star, crossed. Which was our best crossed so we took that name starcrossed and the number 288 it wasn’t because it laid that many eggs, it laid more than that, but 288 had a ring to it, there was an Oldsmobile 88 and something else 88 and it really caught on.  

Lisa Guenther: [00:10:35] The starcrossed, 288, became the most widely used layer in the world when the USDA Poultry Tribute Award several times, and Donald received a congratulatory letter from Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson even while developing these high producing strains. Donald was doing something else, too.

Peter Hunton: [00:10:53] He was always a conserver. When I first joined the company, in fact, my baptism of fire was involved in reproducing about 20 different strains, one of which was currently involved in the commercial crosses. We called them gene pools, and they were populations of, I think, maybe 100 females and 20 males that were just being maintained without selection or development in case they were ever needed. And that was was pretty forward looking.

Lisa Guenther: [00:11:27] Part of Donald’s interest in those older strains was due to hybrid vigor. Hybrid vigor is a biological phenomenon that applies to crops and livestock. Basically, when you cross two pure lines, the hybrid offspring will be healthier and more vigorous. Assuming the parents are any good, this was part of the reason the star crossed 288 was such a superstar. But why keep older strains or breeds you’re not using in your breeding program? After all, that costs money, and it does take time. Well, they are useful for research, and they’re a sort of insurance policy. For more on that. See this story on the University of Alberta’s Heritage Chicken Program. Once Donald retired, he donated his older strains to universities, including the University of Alberta and the University of Guelph. But he didn’t stop there.

Peter Hunton: [00:12:18] He told me that he was really concerned at the absence of any program in Canada and in many other countries, the absence of any program aimed at conserving farm animal genetics in a formal way.

Lisa Guenther: [00:12:39] Donald and Peter worked together on a national foundation to preserve farm animal genetics. It included people representing many livestock sectors. After a lot of persistence and political pressure, they were able to get a lab set up in Saskatoon. Today, the Canadian Animal Genetic Resources Lab stores frozen semen from farm animals ranging from bovines to chickens, as well as some embryos, and October 2019 Western Producer article noted that they can even collect semen from dead animals. So things have advanced, but the same article also notes that the greatest genetic loss appears to be in chickens. That makes any efforts to preserve what’s left all the more important.

Dave Bedard: [00:13:37] You’ve been listening to the secret of Starcrossed 288, prepared by Lisa Guenther and Kristy Nudds for a Glacier Farm Media special project called Seeding the Future. You’re listening to Between the Rows. I’m your host this week, Dave Bedard. So we hear a lot about the idea of buffer strips as part of a conservation system to help catch and prevent soil runoff and erosion on farmland. But they can also offer up some interesting opportunities to help the rest of the field meet its full potential. Here’s Farmtario contributor Matt McIntosh in conversation with Jennifer Doleman. She is a farmer, agronomist and beekeeper at Renfrew County in southeastern Ontario.

Matt McIntosh: [00:14:24] All right, we’re here with Jen Doleman today. We’re back in eastern Ontario and Renfrew County, and we got some interesting stuff going on. We’re looking at some buffer strips and pest management and some different different strategies as it pertains to to insects, so. Jen, thanks for joining us today.

Jen Doleman: [00:14:40] Thanks so much, Matt. I appreciate being here. It’s kind of neat while we’re talking, I’m watching the bumblebees moving around, so it’s very inspiring.

Matt McIntosh: [00:14:48] Let’s maybe just start with just maybe tell us kind of where you are, what we’re looking at and really what what kind of the role is of of of this buffer strip that you’re standing in?

Jen Doleman: [00:15:00] Ok, so Renfrew County has a lot of marginal ground and a lot of great farmland, and I have been a farmer for 15 years and an agronomist for 13 years and now a beekeeper for four years because of neonics. So for me, I always knew buffer strips are really important when it came to like water quality and and soil erosion, but I hadn’t really realized how important it was for beneficial. So the buffer strips are really those parts of your farm that are not yet working at maximum potential. Because if you haven’t intentionally put a buffer strip in place to help support your natural predators, you’re missing out on some great opportunities. So the buffer strips or those parts of your farm that the sprayer can’t quite get in tight to. So you have a lot of bird box growing anything, Edgefield. They’re very good for neighbour relations as well, so you have less worry about risk. Any time you can have really any parts of our farms that when I’m looking at the yield monitor or I’m scouting fields and I’m not seeing consistent regular yields, it makes me start to wonder maybe we should be retiring some of this and putting it into a buffer strip, because then I’m not putting inputs there and and I’m also creating habitat for some of my most important staff, which are my beneficials. They’re they’re great. They work on weekends, they work like statutory holidays and all they ask for to to do their job well is some food place to stay and and providing them with some really good snacks in our fields.

Matt McIntosh: [00:16:36] So when we’re talking about buffer strips or trying to figure out where they might actually fit in the field in terms of the like an area that’s under producing or something like that, are there any kind of general strategies you can use aside from aside from maybe a yield count? You know, maybe you don’t have a yield monitor or something like that? What are some other strategies you can use to try and establish whether or not an area could be transformed into something different?

Jen Doleman: [00:17:03] Well, there’s there’s a few different strategies. One is go through and actually look at your fields right now, either in person or you can do a lot even just with Google Maps or ideally, I always like it that you’ve got a decision maker covering the field at least two to three times a season. Like we hire scouts, we hire custom sprayers, all this other stuff. But you can have a decision maker in that field and just look and see, where is it really thin? Where do you have weeds coming? Where really do you have problems? And that’s really a good place to start. And then there’s different strategies, so an area that the sprayer never gets to, you can invest in some like just some nice things like vetch or crimson clover, sweet clover, something that can actually handle a little bit of roundup. You don’t want to be spraying Roundup in there, but it’s not something where you have to go and replant every year. Then anywhere at my place for the burdock take over, that’s public enemy number one because they’re just so invasive. But any time you see the weeds creeping into the fields, the bared-off knolls, it needs to be something that works for your system. There’s no sense spending a lot of money on a cover crop seed that the custom sprayer is going to take out, right? So what you really need to do is find something that fits your goals and fits your budget.

Jen Doleman: [00:18:15] But I’m always a big fan of like, honestly, one of the cheapest seeds around is sweet clover. It’s incredibly tough. It seeds itself back down again, and it is really one of the best things for pollinators and for beneficial because it blooms all season long. It grows about waist high. So you don’t necessarily want it where you’ve got a high traffic area. That’s better for things like red clover or white clover, or if you want to get into some exotics, things like Cecilia. But at the same time, like these are great because they don’t necessarily need to be mowed. Grasses are wonderful, but grass is due to be maintained, otherwise they kind of suffocate out themselves. So grasses are good, but I’m always a big fan of anything that can have a flower because it just it. It not only gives the pollinators which are obviously for me as a beekeeper I love, but really the native pollinators are what’s keeping a lot of our system in balance. So they need the nectar they need. The nectar provides the energy, it’s the carb, and then the pollen is actually the protein. And so it’s actually feeding things that are helping your crop as well, not just the honeybees, for example. So for those buffer strips, start with the areas where you’ve got the biggest problems because really, what have you got to lose if you can evaluate and see, OK, I’m spending this many hundreds of dollars an acre on this.

Jen Doleman: [00:19:34] Yes, you do have to still make the mortgage payments or pay the rent on that ground. Sometimes when it’s rental, you can maybe have a conversation with your landlord and say, Hey, listen, this isn’t producing. And I know we both share a common value of good environmental stewardship. So if we turn this into pollinator habitat, this might be a really good opportunity for you to know that you’re giving back. And maybe you can even get the landlord to help pay for that, but you have to have a good relationship or you’re showing the landlord how you’re investing in their ground. Again, it depends on that relationship, and I’m not in an area with a conservation authority, but I do have a lot of friends that are and sometimes the conservation authorities will provide pollinator or buffer strip seed or have programs that you can apply for it and have some of that subsidized. And this way, it’s not just farmers having to care for this. Like we get the benefit by having the pollinators here. But we’re also providing habitat for a lot of other species that are important for our whole ecosystem, and it’s nice to make it so that we’re just not the only ones having to care for that.

Matt McIntosh: [00:20:34] That makes sense, actually, that that’s a good point. I know down further south here, there definitely are programs with various conservation authorities for for that sort of thing. If we’re talking about species specifically. Walk us through where you stand and you mentioned several different varieties of clover. What what? What have we got? What are we looking at here?

Jen Doleman: [00:20:53] So some things are just naturally invasive, like this is tufted vetch or ground vetch. You can get vetch in. It’s a seed for cover crops. It’s something where you kind of want to watch because it can become invasive. Really, for me, I’m able to keep most of my vetch in check when it creeps into the field just with some. By having wheat in my rotation because MCPA really kind of keeps it in place, but it doesn’t really take a lot of yield and it and it helped fix nitrogen underneath the ground. So again, it’s very case dependent. The sweet clover I talked about. This is what it looks like. You can either get red or white, and it’s funny. I used to ask the local beekeepers, which was the best one and whichever one I could buy. He told me that I should have bought the other. So I think it doesn’t matter. Crimson Clover is one of my favorites. This is my favorite cover crop legume because it really in Renfrew. It doesn’t overwinter very well. I’ve got a gorgeous color. Even things like sunflowers, I have a lot of people calling saying, Hey, I want to put some sunflowers up in my yard. How do I get seed? Because I’m also, you know, I also have that available. And so for me, a lot of the time is just honestly go buy a bag of bird seed planted unless you’re planning on combining and harvesting it. Bird seed anybody who feeds the birds. Knows that anything that falls on the ground grows really well. He’s got a nice fibrous root system, it doesn’t overwinter. And and I do know people who actually put it in their cover crops in the fall just because it makes the neighbors super happy. And so I just there’s not many things that can make the general public excited about corner beans. But when you put sunflowers or clover in a field, everybody’s got the warmth. It warms the cockles of their heart or whatever you want to call it.

Matt McIntosh: [00:22:28] Well, thanks, Jen. Thanks again.

Jen Doleman: [00:22:30] Thank you. Have a great day. Thank you.

Dave Bedard: [00:22:38] You’ve been listening to Ontario farmer and agronomist Jennifer Doleman in conversation with Matt MacIntosh, a contributor for Farmtario. You’re listening to Between the Rows. I’m your host this week, Dave Bedard. 

Next up, we have a special feature interview with our show sponsor, FarmLinkSolutions. Here’s Kevin Yaworsky speaking with Derek Dery, at FarmLink about grain marketing. 

Kevin Yaworsky: [00:23:07] Today I’m here with Derek Dery, grain marketing specialist with FarmLink Marketing Solutions to talk about grain marketing. So, Derek, I was hoping you could explain to us exactly what grain marketing is. 

Derek Dery: Absolutely, and good day. Well, simply put, grain marketing is the technical art of selling grain, and grain marketing is really a series of informed decisions and subsequent actions that turn grain into a profit. It considers both market analysis and marketing decisions and puts you in control of your grain. So market analysis really focuses on external factors such as macro trends, local prices and things that impact supply and demand like weather, politics and global trends. An example we’re seeing right now with the drought in western Canada. Supply is tight. Demand is high. And record prices are a result. Now, marketing decisions, marketing decisions are one hundred percent above the farm. They’re smart decisions around taking the crop producers work so hard to grow and simply turning it into cash. These decisions focus on internal factors like risk management, cashflow needs, management styles and individual business goals. 

Kevin Yaworsky: Thank you for that overview. So now that we you’ve given us an overview and an explanation of grain marketing, how does FarmLink help producers then market their grain? 

Derek Dery: Yes, at FarmLink, FarmLink exists, help every producer achieve their financial goals through advanced data and customer service, we really help producers make the right grain marketing decisions at the right time. We’re doing our job if producers are earning what they deserve for doing their job. We believe their work is worth more. So we start by asking producers, what are your goals and really build it up from there now, some common goals that were here are succession planning or business transitioning, of course, but then also gets into cash flow planning and budgeting for the farm.

And one common goal that that I really like that we hear is optimizing grain marketing decisions and farm management. Now, farming offers a good, unbiased second opinion so producers can focus on production, and we can help by focusing on grain marketing. 

Kevin Yaworsky: Thank you. What solutions does FarmLink offer producers in western Canada? 

Derek Dery: So today we have two customizable solutions. The first one would be your grain marketing advisor team. Our grain marketing advisors offer the one on one local support that will help farmers develop that customized strategy and really answer the questions. Should I sell or should I wait? They will also help producers uncover and achieve their financial goals, again such as succession planning, getting hold of those cash flow needs or increasing their on farm storage our second solution is GrainFox and GrainFox is our new grain marketing platform that offers winning up to the minute insights and recommendations for producers that like that more Do-It-Yourself approach to grain marketing. GrainFox uses farm links market analysis backed by a team of analysts, look grain marketing advisers and 20 years of statistical and historical data. 

Kevin Yaworsky: So if producers are looking for more information about FarmLink and GrainFox, how do they go about looking for that information?

Derek Dery: Sure. To start that conversation or to try GrainFox for free, they may visit FarmLinksolutions.ca. Visit our website. There’s a section with more information on the value of working with an advisor and how GrainFox can help you market your grain like pro. Please visit FarmLinksolutions.ca 

Kevin Yaworsky: Excellent. Thank you very much. And that was Derek Dery, grain marketing specialist with FarmLink Marketing Solutions.

Dave Bedard: [00:27:21] Well, Chicago, December Oats have been on more or less a steady up slope for weeks now, which has provided some unusual drama for what’s a usually pretty thinly traded contract. As of Tuesday night, this week, December Oats closed at $6.44US. now on Tuesday last week, around the time when oats were crossing the six dollar mark. I talked to Phil Franz-Warkentin of Glacier Markets Farm about what, if anything, prairie oat grower should make of these developments. Phil Hi, welcome back to the show. 

Phil Franz-Warkentin: Hi, Dave, thanks for having me. 

Dave Bedard: Well, thanks for being here. So it’s Tuesday morning as we speak, and I’m seeing where December Oats just recently crossed the U.S. six dollar mark. I sort of suspect I know the answer to this, but what’s driving that activity?

Phil Franz-Warkentin: [00:28:05] Yeah, the your suspicions are correct. I imagine it’s the small crops both here in Canada and in the U.S. So tight supplies are driving the higher prices. And adding to that is you alluded to the thinly traded nature of the oats futures so that you know, when when things do move, they can they can see a large move. Let’s just say, as those smaller volumes can lead to exaggerated swings. So, so yeah, the prices are oats. Futures are they’re hovering around that $6 mark as we speak today. And then I looked back on the records going back 20 years. They’ve never been this high, ever. Usually hovering around the three dollar mark is a much more typical level for the Oats futures market.

Dave Bedard: [00:28:57] Now are these. This contract is this is this food grade oats or feed oats?

Phil Franz-Warkentin: [00:29:03] Yeah, it’s a good question. I believe it’s food grade oats that most of the market in the oats is traded for the food grade. 

Dave Bedard: [00:29:16] Mm hmm Now I remember a few years back, I mean, there was a sudden uptick in in front month oats in the front month oats contract and somebody on somebody on Twitter posted an image of the chart with with the caption, You know, go home oats, you’re drunk. You know, I get the impression that I get the impression that the oats contract. It just don’t get no respect. I mean, why is that?

Phil Franz-Warkentin: [00:29:35] The well, it’s just the small volumes of it. It’s, you know, we grow, you know, a few million tons of oats here in Canada, but in the states, they’re they’re growing, you know, half a million tons. Usually that’s what they grew this year, just under half a million tons. Last year, they grew way more. They had the same issue with, you know, in their key oat growing areas. So when you’re talking half a million tons versus, you know, 90 million tons of soybeans or whatever it is the the is, there’s not a big volumes on it. So you get, you know, it’s different now with everything on computers. But you know, in the past, you’d get some characters trading the oats futures and, you know, the local guys and that kind of thing. So but it is it is that it’s small volumes and the small volumes can lead to some wilder price swings. But they do. Yeah, they keep it around because there are still people trading it. The Canadian, Canadian, it’s you used to be able to see more basis Canadian basis contracts related to the U.S. futures, but you don’t really see that anymore. The Canadian buyers generally have their own cash bids that aren’t necessarily or tied to the U.S. futures anymore. But the the big, the big, the big guys, you’re Quaker Oats and whatever down in the U.S. there, they’re still a player in the futures, as far as I know. So there are there are commercial traders in there that are are following it. And then the thin volumes allow for what speculators there are to lead to some swings and then they have their they have their ways to, you know, move the futures around and they’re making money on it in the small volumes, which is why the market sticks around.

Dave Bedard: [00:31:36] Mm-hmm. Now, you know, of course, I mean, higher prices should, you know, should be the silver lining in a bad crop year. But, you know, I mean, is there a way for for Canadian oat growers to make money off of this situation somehow?

Phil Franz-Warkentin: [00:31:47] Well, they yeah, they they could. They can make their money by if they grew oats this year, that cash prices here are equally strong. The six to $7 in the countryside is what I’ve seen, so that’s a similar situation. Some of the highest highest prices for oats on in my in my following of this, at least, so that there are strong prices out there. The to to make. I guess there’s a way you could use the futures and the hedge and protect yourself in some ways. But basically the the underlying story this year is if you have oats, if you have any kind of crop prices are strong and there they are available both on the cash side and in the in the futures.

Dave Bedard: [00:32:44] Mm hmm. Now getting back to the oats, to the Chicago oats futures for a second. I mean, it’s I gather there’s sort of a mystery as to as to why this this contract is still kept around. I mean, even even the old Winnipeg Commodity Exchange, you know, they eventually got rid of their, you know, historic long term oats contract. But this one, this one just seems to keep on ticking.

Phil Franz-Warkentin: [00:33:06] Yeah. And the the it does keep on ticking, but it has. It’s looking at it here today. There’s, you know, as we’re talking now, there’s just under 200 contracts in the December contract have traded today. By comparison, the nearby canola contract has 10,000 contracts traded right now. So it’s it’s very, very small. There’s not much happening in there, but I’m just this is just speculation on my part now. But 194 contracts is bigger than zero contracts, so they’re not losing anything to to have it there because it’s not. I don’t imagine the keeping it operational. Losing as long as the exchange is making money on keeping it there, they’ll keep it there. So the how they’re making money on those small volumes is, you know, I’m not sure, but you know, anything higher than zero is a profit.

Dave Bedard: [00:34:18] I guess if it’s I guess if you don’t have a pit full of traders who are sort of standing of live action traders who are standing around trading in this to it, it it’s a lot easier to to a lot more cost effective to keep it around.

Phil Franz-Warkentin: [00:34:31] Yeah, exactly. Yeah.

Dave Bedard: [00:34:33] Mm-hmm. So I guess we can keep sorry.

Phil Franz-Warkentin: [00:34:35] Yeah, sorry. I was just going to say that is, you know, it would be interesting to follow and see if you know what developments there are in the contract, if it fades away eventually. But like these, for years, the volumes have been small. You know, it’s they’ve never been large. It’s always been this small kind of chugging away in the in the in the background that, you know, most of the call someone up in Chicago to talk about what’s happening in the markets. I can, you know, I can count on one hand over, you know, over a decade talking to people there who’s brought up oats to talk about. So the. And then when you talk to the oats traders here or not, traders, but you know, processors and anyone buying oats in Canada, you ask them about the oats futures, they’ll have an opinion because they’re watching it. But then they say, but, but you know, we don’t really base anything off of that because it’s erratic and we can’t we can’t trust it. So it’s it is a bit of a mystery. Yes.

Dave Bedard: [00:35:46] So I guess we can keep watching the the cash price tables then for four four oat market guidance.

Phil Franz-Warkentin: [00:35:52] The yeah, there is often a, you know, if the futures are going up, it’s because of the gas prices are going up. There is, you know, a linkage there, but it’s the cash prices are leading, not the futures, generally speaking. And then if the futures go well, for whatever reason, the cash price will, you know, the basis relative it relative to the futures will change accordingly because they’re they’re still following their supply demand fundamentals. That and not so much worried about what’s happening in the futures these days.

Dave Bedard: [00:36:29] I guess we’ll we’ll keep watching this drama taking place in miniature then. Phil, thanks very much for this.

Phil Franz-Warkentin: [00:36:34] Thanks for having me.

Dave Bedard: [00:36:36] Phil Franz-Warkentin reports for Glacier Markets Farm here in Winnipeg. You’re listening to Between the Rows. I’m your host this week, Dave Bedard. That’s our time for the week, but we’ll be back with more from the Glacier Farm Media family of publications. And that includes our upcoming multimedia project, Seeding the Future. You’ll definitely want to keep an eye out on our websites for links to that. Also, if it’s more convenient for you to search us up there, an archive of past episodes of this show is now up on YouTube. If you do, just make sure to use Between the Rows Podcast as your search term and look for our logo you’ve been listening to Between the Rows. I’ve been your host this week, Dave Bedard. Thanks for listening.

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