Organic markets steady in late June

One grain buyer says there are large supplies of old crop grain sitting in bins as farmers hold out for higher prices. Photo: Greg Berg

By Phil Franz-Warkentin, MarketsFarm
Glacier FarmMedia staff

Canadian organic markets largely held steady in June, as the industry works through previously contracted old crop grain and awaits the upcoming new crop.

“We’re sort of flat-lined right now,” said Michael Messer, of Rein Agri Food in Saskatchewan on the lack of significant activity in the markets. He said some end-users had purchased what they needed earlier, and were now sitting on product.

“The whole world has come to a hand-to-mouth business,” said Messer.

Jason Breault with RW Organics in Mossbank, Sask. said activity was steady on the grain front. While the market was relatively flat for now he expected to see more movement in July.

“People will either be building bins or selling their grain, one of the two,” said Breault. He added that there were still large supplies of old crop grain, as farmers continue to hold out for higher prices.

“There’s a good balance between supply and demand right now, and that will continue into the new crop,” said Jason Freeman of Farmers Direct Organic Foods, adding that “all of the old crop in the bins won’t be purchased before the new crop (is available).”

…the good thing about organics is that you’re playing the long game. – Michael Messer

As far as the new crop is concerned, acreage seeded to organic crops was largely steady on the year, with no large increases or decreases on any particular crop from Messer’s perspective.

“People have their rotations and they stay with them,” said Messer adding that “the good thing about organics is that you’re playing the long game.”

Crop conditions were varied across the Prairies at the end of June, with excessive moisture in parts of Alberta, and dryness concerns in some areas of Saskatchewan.

Breault said some farmers may have put in extra wheat, because the lower prices may have them to make up for that on quantity.

The COVID-19 pandemic has added new layers of uncertainty to the industry. Messer noted that many competing countries were dealing with increased caseloads compared to Canada. “Will they continue to be able to produce and process that product, or will they step away from the market?” he asked, noting that some contacts in Africa were reporting unseeded crops.