Organic buyers take ‘wait-and-see’ approach with bids

Flax flowers in bloom. Photo: Laura Rance

By Jade Markus
OrganicBiz staff

Amid a lack of emerging new-crop contracts, organic farmers are aggressively selling stocks, as favourable weather pressures the market.

“I think a lot of these buyers have been riding a price wave for the last couple years, and I think they’re keeping their cards close to their chest. Things are developing,” said Kris Morrow, commodity trader with Vancouver-based firm C.B. Constantini Ltd.

Morrow expects more new crop prices to be out within the next couple weeks, as buyers gather information from end-use customers, and as crop conditions and acreage become clear.

The marketplace is pretty quiet at the moment, there’s not a lot going on with old-crop. – Kris Morrow, commodity trader

“I was surprised they’re not out already,” he said. “But at some point they’re going to have to start covering their positions.”

Flax is one of few commodities that has been contracted in large numbers so far this season, said Scott Shiels, grain procurement merchant at Grain Millers, Inc. at Yorkton, Sask.

New-crop organic flax prices are slightly lower than spot prices, with contracts between $34 and $36 per bushel for brown flax, and $36 to $38 for yellow.

“The marketplace is pretty quiet at the moment, there’s not a lot going on with old-crop. Most of these guys are pretty well covered,” Morrow said.

Operations are covered, but farmers have been trying to sell aggressively, Shiels said.

“I’m hoping the farmers don’t panic and sell too much too early, just because the weather looks good,” he added.

Most grain and special crop prices have edged lower on the month, as favourable crop conditions mean buyers won’t pay more than they need to.

Crop conditions across Western Canada are, in general, in good condition, said Cal Vandaele of Vandaele Seeds at Medora, Man.

Vandaele scouted fields on a trip from Manitoba to Alberta.

“I saw a few that were on the wet side, but can’t say I saw a poor crop,” Vandaele said. “It’s a long way from the bin, but things look great.”

organic price quotes-late June 2016