‘Nothing bullish’ in Prairie organic market

oats Ample oat supplies and last year’s big crop are keeping a lid on oats markets. Photo: iStock

By Jade Markus
OrganicBiz staff

Prices for Canada’s organic crops are steady, but are unlikely to advance in the short term, one buyer says, amid a sense of uncertainty in the industry.

“We’re not seeing anything bullish at all in the market,” said Scott Shiels of Grain Millers, Inc. in Yorkton, Sask.

He added that last year’s big crop and ample supplies are keeping a lid on the market, especially for oats. There will be an organic oat carryout this year, which hasn’t happened for a number of years, Shiels said.

There seems to be a lot of uncertainty, and I see it on the conventional side just as much as the organic. – Cal Vandaele

“I’m pretty sure we’re going to see prices stay pretty stable, I don’t think we’re going to see them go lower, but I don’t think we’re going to see them go higher,” he said, adding that high supplies in the grain market offset disease and quality issues in the crop.

Longer term, flax values could move higher. There are ample supplies of the commodity, but quality issues could support values.

Leia Weaver, organic grain marketer at Tilbury, Ontario’s Roger Rivest Marketing Ltd. says the province’s organic corn prices are likely to feel pressure.

“There might be some real activity in the U.S., where they’ll be clamping down on imports, so we could see some movement there,” Weaver said.

Many buyers are still holding off on new crop bids, waiting for market-determining factors to become clear.

“There seems to be a lot of uncertainty, and I see it on the conventional side just as much as the organic,” said Cal Vandaele co-owner of Vandaele Seeds Ltd. in Medora, Manitoba. “When you’re feeling that way the best thing to is nothing.”

Vandaele named the US election as one factor that added an element of cautiousness to the market. Now industry participants are waiting to see how US President Donald Trump will affect American trade policies.

“I think everyone is sort of in wait-and-see mode, so we’re not really buying anything right now,” he said.

Weaver said Roger Rivest Marketing doesn’t typically offer new crop organic bids until spring. She says they need to assess field conditions and get a better sense of end-user demand.