This seems to be shaping up to be another year in which we are really going to miss the Canadian Wheat Board (CWB). We have a high volume crop just like we had when the grain companies used "transportation problems" as an excuse to take about $6 billion from the pockets of prairie farmers (Gray, U of S) through excess basis. The railways were not blameless but mostly it was the grain companies dropping their elevator price for grain, artificially widening the basis (roughly the cost of getting grain from elevator to ship) to slow up farmer delivery. The international price was of course unaffected and they pocketed the difference.
The Americans are competing with us with a large crop of their own, but it is low in protein. One of the things the CWB was exceptionally good at was getting Canadian farmers well paid for their higher protein levels. Now, if grain companies can negotiate any extra for protein they keep it.
The Harper government has cost us both money and flexibility. The coffin lid is now closing on the port of Churchill, as we knew it would. No matter what you may have heard from Conservative apologists, grain companies will not ship through a terminal which they do not own, not unless ordered to by something like the CWB.
To add insult to injury a few days ago I got a shamelessly hypocritical mail out from my MP Gerry Ritz. The same MP that promised a vote on the future of the CWB in the 2011 election, and then ignored his promise, now demands a vote on possible changes to the federal electoral system. Did I mention he was shameless?