By Fadi Didi
Big rail wants federal money for grain shipping despite a great year.
The country's two largest railways want federal investments to boost the rail capacity of Vancouver's North Shore, despite moving large quantities of grain last year.
Canadian National Railway transported 21.8 million tonnes of the 2016-2017 Western Canadian grain crop, beating its record from two years earlier by two per cent.
Overall, Montreal-based C-N Rail shipped seven per cent more than the three-year average as it set six monthly records between September and March, when grain prices are highest.
The railway introduced 200-car grain trains and expanded commercial agreements that allowed customers to secure 70 per cent of its car supply in advance and grain companies built nine new country elevators and another seven are slated to be added in the next 18 months.
A research agronomist with the University of Manitoba is studying hail damage in soybeans.
Kristen MacMillan says the occurrence and frequency of hail storms in Manitoba was particularly high during the past three seasons.
She notes insurance providers in Manitoba are using adjusting procedures that were developed in the United States, which may not accurately reflect what is happening in this region.
A marketing analyst says recent dry weather across Saskatchewan will almost certainly drive up wheat and canola prices in the coming marketing year.
Neil Townsend of Farmlink Marketing Solutions says drought in the Prairie provinces, as well as parts of the United States, has already pushed up prices.
But he says there is still room for more upward movement after the impact of dry weather on the Canadian harvest becomes more apparent.
Townsend says he predicts prices will continue to rise over the winter.
Officials in North Dakota have arranged for tonnes of donated hay for drought-impacted ranchers in the Dakotas and Montana -- now they need truckers to haul it.
North Dakota's Agriculture Department, North Dakota State University and the Michigan-based non-profit Ag Community Relief earlier this month announced a program to accept hay donations at a site near the Fargo campus.
The hay will be distributed through a lottery drawing next month.
There is heavy interest in the hay lottery -- the department has received more than 800 applications from ranchers in the three states.