Quality varies for Canada’s organic commodities

Photo: Thinkstock

By Marlo Glass
Glacier FarmMedia MarketsFarm

With harvest creeping towards completion, prices for organic commodities have picked up across Canada.

Ontario’s organic corn crop has been delayed to the point that quality concerns have arisen, but prices remain around C$12 per bushel.

However, one organic trader said it’s “too soon to tell” to what degree quality concerns will impact prices.

You really have to feel out the market right now, to see what a fair price is.

“We really won’t have a good picture on what kind of quality is available in the market until the middle of December,” they commented.

Milling wheat prices have rebound several dollars since the summer, and have been delivered in Ontario for around C$6.50 per bushel.

“It’s on a case-by-case basis,” clarified the trader. Some bids for higher-percentage protein milling wheat have been higher.

“You really have to feel out the market right now, to see what a fair price is,” they remarked.

Barry Richardson, a grain buyer with NutraSun Foods Ltd. in Regina, has seen a lot of “inferior grain” in the market. As such, feed wheat prices have come under pressure, around C$8.50 to C$9.00 per bushel.

“A lot of wheat failed milling spec,” he said.

“There will be a need for higher quality grain and higher protein wheat in 2020,” he predicted.

The quality concerns for milling wheat in Western Canada may be severe enough to cause a supply shortfall by mid-2020. That shortfall could be exacerbated by other global conditions, including drought conditions in Australia.

“They’re definitely looking at the Canadian market for organic flour,” Richardson commented

However, Jason Breault of RW Organics in Mossbank, Sask. said quality concerns may not be as dire as a producer might originally think.

“Some farmers have sent [samples] in thinking it’s no good, but we tested it and it was actually usable,” he said.

“So maybe it’s not as bad as people think.”

Breault said producers should get their samples tested, even if they think it’s futile.

As far as quality concerns causing a gap in markets, Eric Fast of Nature’s Organic Grist believed the supply of organic wheat currently outweighs demand.

“It’s a supply push market,” he said.

Demand is still there, but supply is stronger.”