Organic prices largely steady despite increased demand

The price of milling rye has remained largely steady. Photo: File

By Glen Hallick, MarketsFarm 
Glacier FarmMedia staff

After more than two months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the consensus among several people in the organic grain industry is that prices haven’t changed a great deal.

Scott Shiels of Grain Millers in Yorkton, Sask. said demand did increase with the onset of the pandemic, just not enough to generate a lot of movement in prices.

“It’s a positive that demand is good and movement is good,” he said.

Jason Freeman of Farmer Direct Co-op noted upticks in the amount of one-pound and 25-pound bags they sell to consumers after the pandemic reached Canada. He said people are cooking more at home than what they normally have been.

Brown flax is one of the Western Canadian organic crops that hasn’t changed much, with it going for the low C$30’s per bushel. Milling rye as well has remained largely steady at about C$9 per bushel, and yellows peas are in the C$11 per bushel range.

Feed wheat slipped from C$7.75 to C$9 per bushel to now around C$7.25 per bushel. Then hard red wheat increased slightly from approximately C$13.50 per bushel in April to C$14 per bushel in May. Also, there are some dealers who commented they aren’t buying wheat at this time.

The main reason why prices haven’t shot up with demand is the supply for organics remains plentiful, according to Mylo Chubb of Stonehenge Organics in Assiniboia, Sask.

Over the last 18 months more farmers have been growing organic crops and that essentially overwhelmed the market.

If you’re talking milling wheat, the price has gone through the roof. – Harro Wehrmann

“On the grand scheme of things, I think there had been overproduction for the last two growing seasons. A lot of people jumped into [organics] thinking it was a gold mine,” Chubb said.

A little outside of the consensus on organic prices was Harro Wehrmann of Wehrmann Grain and Seed in Ripley, Ont. who said it largely depends on which grains and if something has been through a processing facility.

“If you’re looking at corn, it’s down. If you’re talking soybeans, they’re down slightly, but holding. If you’re talking milling wheat, the price has gone through the roof, he said, noting that dry bean and lentil prices have also increased, but feed prices have declined.

For example, organic feed soybeans dropped off since April, from C$20 to C$23 per bushel to now C$18.50 to C$20.25.