It slashed Russian production to 72.5 million tonnes, down 12.5 million tonnes or 15 percent from last month’s forecast.
 | Reuters photo

USDA slashes wheat estimates for Canada, Russia

The effect on crops of droughts in parts of North America, Russia and Brazil were translated into production numbers in the August United States Department of Agriculture report and the results were much tighter global balance sheets for wheat and corn. The department also trimmed North American oilseed production but the impact on global supply […] Read more

Grain shipments through Thunder Bay were down about seven percent last season.  |  Michael Raine photo

No chance of repeating record grain movement and exports

It was a banner crop year for Western Canada’s grain movement and exports in 2020-21 with several records broken. Alas, there will be no records set in 2021-22 because drought in much of the Prairies is slashing yields. While we will have to wait for Statistics Canada’s July report for the official tally of all […] Read more

Assessing the yield impact of severe drought is grim exercise

Assessing the yield impact of severe drought is grim exercise

Saskatchewan Agriculture’s crop rating numbers for July 26 were a depressing confirmation of the toll drought and heat are taking on the province’s crops. For canola, 51 percent was considered poor to very poor, 35 percent fair, 14 percent good and nothing was rated excellent. That has to be the worst rating by far in […] Read more


Can Prairies capture slice of global aquaculture boom?

Let’s take a break from the drought and talk about fish farming and prairie prospects for aquaculture. The concept is not as crazy as it might appear at first glance. The spark for the idea of this column came as I read about an innovative renewable energy project in southeastern Saskatchewan. Deep Earth Energy Production […] Read more

The trade was shaken by the July 12 U.S. Department of Agriculture monthly supply and demand estimate that pegged American spring wheat production at only 345 million bushels, down 41 percent from last year. | File photo

Crop markets wake up to evolving drought disaster

The disaster playing out in the northern part of this continent’s grain belt is finally making itself felt on crop futures markets. A few weeks ago, I noted that while the trade was concerned about dry, hot weather in the northern tier, it was also comforted by a good hard red winter wheat harvest in […] Read more


Fuel demand is rising around the world as travel restrictions end. Analysts believe global demand will recover to pre-pandemic levels some time in 2022. | File photo

Dispute within OPEC increases oil market uncertainty

Gasoline demand in the United States hit a record high in the week ending July 2, a clear indication the country is quickly recovering from the economic malaise caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fuel demand is rising around the world as travel restrictions end. Analysts believe global demand will recover to pre-pandemic levels some time […] Read more

Temperatures in the upper 30 C and no rain dominated the days leading up to Canada Day on the Canadian Prairies and the July 4 U.S. Independence Day in the U.S. northern Plains. | File photo

Market focuses on weather, but also watches biofuel news

A record-breaking heat wave and a bullish United States Department of Agriculture acreage report caused crop markets to soar last week. These developments for now have put into the background market-dampening questions about the new U.S. administration’s commitment to biofuels. Temperatures in the upper 30 C and no rain dominated the days leading up to […] Read more

The U.S. spring wheat cr op is suffering, and worries about the situation north of the border are also beginning to mount as temperatures climb past 30 C. | Jeannette Greaves photo

Spring wheat futures rally on heat and drought concerns

New crop hard red spring wheat futures had a 29 percent premium over hard red winter wheat at the close of last week as dry weather stressed plants in the northern part of the continent even as southern farmers are cheered by their combine yield monitors. Crops are mixed on the Canadian Prairies with some […] Read more


Private forecasters in China often contradict official crop projections, such as when they drew attention last fall to crop damage caused by successive typhoons, even as the government touted new record-setting production. However, there are now reports that some of these analysts have been arrested and their companies shut down. | Reuters photo

China exerts heavy hand on independent ag analysts

An apparent crackdown on firms that independently track China’s agricultural supply and demand data is disturbing because the Asian giant has a huge impact on global grain and meat markets. An example of China’s influence was felt last week when its buying halted a seven-day, almost 16 percent collapse in soybean futures. All crop futures […] Read more

Beef and pork cut-out prices usually fall in July, but the decline could be less than usual this year because it will come at the same time that governments start lifting indoor dining capacity restrictions brought in last year to control the COVID-19 pandemic. | Getty Images

Meat prices peak as restaurants return to full capacity

As I searched out data on rising meat cut-out prices and restaurant activity for this column, the song Celebration by Kool and the Gang began to play in my head. “There’s a party going on right here. “A celebration to last throughout the years.” COVID vaccination rollouts are going well in Canada and the United […] Read more