Current Organic Prices

Grain prices are updated monthly by Organic Biz.

Market Commentaries

Each month, get insights on the markets from industry leading organic grain buyers. Hit the ground running when it’s time to harvest your crops!

Click here to view past market commentaries.

One Degree Organics

Currently, what is causing the slow movement of grains?

There are various market forces impacting the movement of grains, but the reduction of international interest in Canadian grain products is a key variable. Countries around the world are using non-tariff trade barriers to restrict the entry of grains due to the presence of GMO varieties and contamination of residual herbicides such as glyphosate.

What options are available to the organic sector in order to speed up the movement of grains? 

The sector can continue to work with groups like the Canadian Organic Trade Association and the Prairie Organic Grain network to influence government policy around allowable uses as glyphosate and maximum allowable residue.

To what extent can organic producers influence the movement of grains?

There are many steps that organic producers can take to influence movement. Talking to other farmers about the challenges of glyphosate, in particular the pre-harvest use as a desiccant, and the impact on international markets. Further, advocating for organic transition will help lift the segment and expand the opportunities for the entire industry.

With the use and impact of glyphosate gaining attention internationally,

a. what impact will this have on Canada’s agricultural sector?

We expect an overall negative impact for the conventional sector as countries in Europe and Asia will use the presence of glyphosate on conventionally grown grains and legumes as a non-tariff trade barrier. Canada is one of the few countries globally to have high levels of allowable residue on grains. Further, as more conventional farmers use glyphosate for the unlabelled/unapproved benefit of desiccation, this challenge will likely worsen over the coming year.

b. what impact will this have on Canadian organic farmers?

This will create both risk and opportunity for Canadian Organic farmers. On the risk side, the continued and expanded use by conventional farmers will require Organic farmers to remain vigilant to protect their crops from inadvertent contamination. It is frustrating that the onus is on organic farmers, but it is a current reality. However, as the cleanest source of food in our current agricultural system, organic farmers have an opportunity to capitalize on the growing consumer interest in clean, organic food. In particular, an emerging trend is to certify grains as glyphosate-free which consumers are seeking to ensure that even their organic foods are free of contamination.

Grain Millers

Currently, what is causing the slow movement of grain?

I don’t think that there is less grain moving, or slower movement of grain, right now that any other year. We have experienced an increase in production in the organic sector year after year. This is due to not only an increase in acreage, but an increased yield on nearly every organic acre in production today. For companies such as Grain Millers, we are actually moving more grain this year than previous years, so we are not experiencing a slowdown.

What options are available to the organic sector in order to speed up the movement of grains? 

Really the only option available to producers to speed up movement of grain off their farm is forward contracting with companies that have a steady use schedule, such as a miller or processor. If a producer sells to a middleman or broker, then that buyer is the one that needs to move their grain, and they are at the mercy of whoever they have it sold to. The shorter you can make the chain between yourself and the end user, the quicker, and more consistently, your grain will move.

To what extent can organic producers influence the movement of grains?

I don’t know that there is really much that producers can do to influence the movement of grains. There are a number of companies in the industry that have very good reputations when it comes to moving grain on time, so sticking with selling to buyers like that is key to good movement.

Sustainable Grain

What is causing the slow movement of organic grain this past winter?

Whether or not organic grain movement is ‘slow’ these days depends on who you ask. Some organic farms and grain companies aren’t experiencing any change in demand, or delays in shipping. My observation is that in these cases, the destination market is Canada or the U.S.

Where demand appears to be falling for Canadian organic grain is to companies that trade internationally, and for grain from organic farms that rely on selling to these types of companies. Canada does not have a strong brand reputation in overseas markets for organic food ingredients. Buyers report a preference to buy from other origins besides Canada where possible, for two reasons. Canadian organic grains have higher instance of failing to meet the pesticide maximum residue limits (MRL’s). Secondly, they’re uncompetitively high-priced. Between the farms’ cost of production and distance to market, organic crops in many cases are significantly cheaper coming out of countries in South America, the Indian Subcontinent, eastern Europe, and potentially others. Case in point, imports of organic grains into Canada exceed exports in some cases. This is happening as a result of global price arbitrage.

With the use and impact of glyphosate gaining attention internationally, what impact will this have on Canada’s agricultural sector?

Looking ahead, the big question in my mind is how long will North American food channels remain satisfied customers of organic food crops grown in western Canada? Just today an article was published by The Detox Project about organic protein powders that carry glyphosate. Western Canada is the world’s dominant producer and exporter of peas and lentils and some conventional farms have been using glyphosate as a pre-harvest dessicant even though that application is not approved by Health Canada, which is probably causing some drift into organic fields. Other theories are, that there has been so much glyphosate applied in the western Canadian agriculture environment over the past decades that it’s contaminating soils and rainwater, leading to the transfer of trace amounts into organic food crops. Whatever the cause of glyphosate residues showing up in retail foods, it’s not going to be quick or easy to eliminate from the farming environment across the Canadian Prairies.

Canada’s agriculture sector is facing major challenges with market access right now in almost all mainstream crops that farmers rely on for income, both conventional and organic. The problems will most likely continue to mount, as lab testing technology improves, and media coverage around climate change and glyphosate intensifies. In my opinion there are very real safety and phytosanitary considerations behind recent incidences of blocked markets and shifting trade flows, that aren’t getting the attention needed by the Canadian agriculture industry. The impact of losing market demand is directly felt by primary producers in the form of lower prices.

Hemp Production Services

Currently, what is causing the slow movement of grain?

In the organic hemp market, slow movement is not an issue thanks to increased demand both in the US and Canada. This means that most organic growers have already been able to deliver their contracted production if their production quality met spec. Markets have strengthened and this year’s contract prices reflect that by providing growers a higher profit.

What options are available to the organic sector in order to speed up the movement of grains?

Speeding up movement is not a concern with the organic hemp market at this time. As a fresh raw product, hemp needs to be processed and marketed throughout the year which sometimes creates challenges depending at what point in the delivery cycle the production is requested.

To what extent can organic growers influence the movement of grains?

For organic hemp, quality is the number one factor influencing movement. Experienced growers recognize the importance of good fertility management, weed control, timely harvest and post-harvest management to end up with a high quality product. Quality begins already in the year prior to production by setting up the field for the best possible hemp crop.

Grain Prices Over Time

Grain prices have been collected and published previously by Laura Telford (MAFRED), and more recently by OrganicBiz. The Prairie Organic Grain Initiative has gathered those grain prices from 2012 onward, and created the following charts to display trends over the years.

Click the thumbnail to view larger image

Feed Pea Prices

January 2014 – April 2019

Feed Corn Prices

August 2013 – July 2018

Flax Prices

January 2013 – April 2019

Lentil Prices

May 2015 – April 2019

Wheat Prices 

November 2012 – April 2019

Soybean Prices

February 2013 – September 2018

Malt Barley Prices

February 2016 – May 2018

Feed Barley Prices

November 2012 – April 2019

Oat Prices

November 2012 –  April 2019

Pea Prices

February 2016 – April 2019

Hemp Prices

May 2013 – March 2017

Mustard Prices

January 2014 – April 2019