As rain delays 2019 Prairie harvest, organic prices remains flat

Photo: Thinkstock

By Glen Hallick
MarketsFarm/OrganicBiz staff

Not only has rain has delayed a good part of this year’s harvest on the Prairies, but for the most part prices for organic grains and oilseeds have remained flat.

“It’s terrible everywhere, from Mexico to Nunavut,” quipped Jason Charles of Pipeline Foods in Minneapolis, Minn. regarding the wet conditions across the United States and Canada.

“It just won’t stop raining. Wheat has been sitting, waiting to combine since August 25,” he said, noting that quality will now become an issue. “It’s hundreds of millions of dollars in loss.”

Rain in the last few weeks has set most of the farmers in Manitoba back on harvest. – Laura Telford

Charles quoted corn at US$8.00 per bushel and soybeans at US$19.00 per bushel, pretty much where they were in August.

Laura Telford, organic sector development specialists with Manitoba Agriculture, concurred with Charles.

“From what I heard the rain in the last few weeks has set most of the farmers in Manitoba back on harvest,” she said, noting that’s based on conversations with only a handful of them.

Telford commented the Manitoba crop prior to the rain had been of average quality and prices were still weak.

“I think most buyers have everything they need right now. Kind of waiting until after harvest to see if they can pick up some crops right off the combine,” she said.

Jason Breault of RW Organics in Mossbank, Sask. said the harvest hasn’t reached the halfway point in his neck of the woods, about 70 kilometers south of Moose Jaw.

Although Breault said he’s taking a wait-and-see approach to this year’s harvest, with the delays he expects prices to go down as the crops’ quality will have diminished.

Presently RW Organics has offered C$13 per bushel for milling wheat and C$8.50 per bushel for feed wheat, he said.

In Ontario, the soybean harvest was just getting underway said Andrew St. John, organic manager at Beechwood Agri Services in Parkhill.

“It’s earlier than we expected due to the late planting. Things have caught up faster than we expected,” St. John commented.

Wet conditions this spring caused delays for farmers trying to plant their crops.

As for corn, he was excepting to see this year’s crop coming in by early November, which would be later than usual. He noted that the wheat harvest wrapped by the end of July.

In speaking with some Ontario buyers and average prices per bushel were C$29.50 for soybean, C$11.90 for corn and wheat was about C$14.00.