Some in the industry talk about oil prices possibly jumping to US$100 per barrel, but $60 to $70 is thought to be more realistic, considering the potential damage such a big rise could do to the global economy.  | Les Dunford photo

Expected economic recovery has oil bulls dreaming big

Crude oil prices are recovering as global economies rebound from COVID-19 disruptions and a few ultra-bulls are talking of the potential to see peaks of US$100 per barrel in the next few years. That would raise farm diesel costs, but also lift ethanol and biodiesel values, which would in turn support crop prices. Of course […] Read more

Producer deliveries of all grains in week 28 fell to 648,800 tonnes, down from 1.473 million the previous week. | File photo

Polar vortex couldn’t stop canola’s climb to record price

Bitter cold Feb. 8-14 stalled Canadian grain movement and exports but it didn’t stop futures traders from pushing March canola prices higher. On Feb. 18, the contract reached a record of $777.30 per tonne, topping the previous high set in March 2008. The day before, Agriculture Canada published its monthly supply and demand estimates and […] Read more

Uncertainty about the severity of the damage inflicted on China’s corn crop last year was one of the factors that made it difficult to foresee the significant increase in grain markets.  |  Reuters photo

Market forecasters work with imperfect information

What will be the important but unknown thing this year that upends market forecasts? This is the time of year when governments and private analysts make preliminary forecasts of spring crop seeding. Prices are the highest in years. Futures markets and pre-seeding contract prices for 2021-22 production are attractive. Most people, including me, think crop […] Read more

China has played a major role in this year’s grain export story and is the biggest buyer of Canada’s wheat, canola and especially barley and peas.  |  File photo

Grain demand story dominates market discussion

At the mid-point of the crop year, Canadian grain exports are up 35 percent over the same point last year. It’s part of a global demand picture lifting crop values to their highest levels since the price spikes of 2008 and 2012-13. Through this autumn and winter, buyers around the world, and especially in China, […] Read more

A recent analysis said increasing the federal carbon tax to $170 per tonne by 2030 could cost farmers another $170 to $180 million a year in rail costs, but what happens if the railways find ways to replace fossil fuel with alternative sources such as hydrogen?  | File photo

Advancing technology complicates carbon cost forecasts

Canadian Pacific Railway announced in December a pilot project to develop North America’s first line-haul hydrogen-powered locomotive to evaluate the technology’s readiness. Globally, railways, truckers and others are looking at a range of technologies and practices to reduce or eliminate their carbon footprint to address their contribution to climate change and to respond to pressures […] Read more

The La Nina that often reduces rainfall in farming parts of South America is still in place. | Getty Images

Rain arrives in time to save the crop in South America

Just as oilseed prices peaked Jan. 13 at multi-year highs on a cut to United States soybean and corn year-end stock forecasts, South American crops began to improve thanks to increasing rainfall. Since then, soybean and canola futures retreated but remain near multi-year highs as traders watch daily South American weather forecasts and assess the […] Read more

The amount of dry pastureland across the Canadian Prairies at freeze-up and the light snowpack in many areas are causes for worry.  | Mike Sturk photo

Expensive feed and dry pastures concern cattle sector

Cattle producers and feeders are hoping 2021 will be a more prosperous year but rising feed costs and moisture deficits are creating challenges. The year that just ended saw COVID-19 disrupt the beef industry. The supply chain had to pivot quickly as dining out options were restricted causing people to eat more beef at home. […] Read more

Canola exports and domestic demand are so robust at the moment that the country could be out of supply before the crop is harvested.  | File photo

Markets soar skyward as supply and demand forces align

It wasn’t only Jupiter and Saturn aligning in December to produce an awe-inspiring sight. Strong demand for oilseeds and worries about global production aligned to cause canola and soybean futures to soar to levels not seen since 2014. From Dec. 1 to Jan. 8, March canola futures rose 14.5 percent. That lagged behind the 18 […] Read more

Will China’s hog sector industrialization hike crop imports?

The Chinese hog sector’s rebuild from the Asian swine fever disaster has hastened the government’s policy to end backyard production in favour of large commercial operations. That also means an accelerated shift away from pigs eating table scraps and swill toward commercial diets. And that might mean China will have to import more feed ingredients […] Read more

Recent reports show that more wheat is available, and although expectations on exports and consumption are also up, the stocks number is still considered burdensome.  | File photo

Hibernating wheat bear may be shaken from its slumber

Lots of new crop production and demand data has come out in recent weeks giving a better picture of the global wheat situation and once all the numbers are tallied and digested, the new outlook is not much different than the old outlook. Yet it was enough to remind the wheat futures trade, recently in […] Read more