Fast rising food costs can spark civil unrest as it did in 2011 when food inflation was one trigger of the Arab Spring uprisings, including demonstrations in Egypt in the winter of 2011. | Reuters/Goran Tomasevic photo

Tight crop supplies spark worry about global food crisis

Expect food security to become a major topic in coming months. It is beginning to look like production from 2021 might not be enough to rebuild comfort in global grain stocks. In the context of a world slowly recovering from the miseries of COVID-19, now coupled with price inflation in everything from lumber to vegetable […] Read more

The planned increase in canola crushing capacity on the Prairies will create a challenge to find homes for all the extra canola meal that will be produced. The answer might lie in new developments in human food, aquaculture and bioplastics. | File photo

It’s time meal becomes the Cinderella story for canola

With three new canola crushing plants and a major expansion to an existing facility all announced in the last few weeks, questions arise about the adequacy of seed supply to crush and the markets the plants will serve. The soaring new demand for renewable diesel partly addresses the market opportunity on the oil side of […] Read more

Buyers appear to be spooked by the poor prospects for Brazil’s corn crop, which is suffering from drought. | Reuters/Marcelo Rodrigues Teixeira photo

Better weather and hot demand vie for market attention

Grain markets are being pulled in two directions. Improving weather in North America and Europe is providing downward pressure on prices but that is partly being offset by a Chinese buying spree on new crop American corn as prospects for Brazilian supply fade. As of May 21, China had booked 10.7 million tonnes of new […] Read more



For now, the economists who matter, those who run the Canadian and U.S. central banks, think shortages and cost increases will be short term and will moderate as supply chains catch up with the faster-than-expected recovery. | Getty Images

Soaring cost of commodities sparks inflation worries

Watching the soaring price of crops, lumber, steel, copper and other commodities, it is hard to understand why there isn’t more official concern about inflation. Inflation has not been much of an issue since the 1980s but when it was, constantly rising prices and the high interest rates used to combat them were a terrible […] Read more


The lack of a strong cattle price rally is frustrating feeders and calf producers as they watch grain prices and competing hog markets soaring higher. | File photo

Lagging cattle prices might improve as supply tightens

The lingering effects of the battle against COVID-19 have kept cattle prices lower than expected, given strong beef prices and demand. The Choice cutout 600-900 pounds in the United States in April has been running very strong for this time of the year and was at US$293.76 per hundredweight, about $70 higher than the five-year […] Read more

Canadian canola crushers are shopping overseas as domestic supply tightens at home. | File photo

Crushers look offshore for supply as farmers empty bins

Canadian oilseed crushers are so concerned about tight supply at the end of the crop year that they have bought two shipments each of up to 30,000 tonnes of canola from Ukraine for delivery in August. I can’t remember that ever happening before. The news reported by Reuters came last week as canola May futures […] Read more

A spring snowstorm that hit eastern Saskatchewan and parts of Manitoba in mid-April proved too much for 10-year-old Jonny Kotylak’s snowmobile on his family’s farm near Kendal, Sask. It also provided temporary relief to large parts of the eastern Prairies and North Dakota, although the western Prairies saw little moisture and all of the northern Plains region continues to have a moisture deficit. | Andrea Kotylak photo

Weather and geopolitical tensions dominate market talk

Frosts in France and drought worries in North Dakota and parts of the Canadian Prairies are providing price support to a worried crop market that urgently needs ideal crop weather to replenish global supply. In the background, all markets are watching the rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine as well as China’s intimidation of Taiwan. […] Read more


In Canada, production is up from last year, but the market is also up, following the formulas that link Canadian and U.S. prices. | File photo

Tight supply, good demand lift hogs to seven year highs

Chicago hog futures are the highest since 2014 as traders assess tight supply in the United States, strong pork export demand and hopes for rising domestic demand. Recently, I wrote about how African swine fever still grips China’s hog herd, forcing more culling that will lead to continued elevated pork imports. But since then, hog […] Read more

The line-up of ships at Vancouver fell to only 15 in week 34 to March 30, down from around 30 in weeks 25 to 30. | File photo

Ship slowdown at port of Vancouver might be temporary

After moving at a furious pace for months, West Coast crop exports might slow a little in the final third of the crop year as old-crop supply dwindles. The line-up of ships at Vancouver fell to only 15 in week 34 to March 30, down from around 30 in weeks 25 to 30. Last year […] Read more