Ethanol is loaded at a distillery in Daegu, South Korea. I was originally produced as an ingredient for the South Korean liquor, Soju, and will now be used as disinfectant.  |  Reuters photo

Biofuel sector braces for COVID-19 aftershocks

COVID-19 is expected to wreak havoc on the biofuel sector and that is already depressing corn and other grain prices. “Biofuel producers are under desperate strain,” Emily Skor, chief executive officer of Growth Energy said in an email. “This is unlike anything we’ve seen before.” Growth Energy is the leading biofuel trade association in the […] Read more

A man rides past storage facilities of China's state grain company Sinograin near Tianjin port, China.  |   REUTERS/Yilei Sun photo

China makes major U.S. wheat purchase

The United States has made its first big wheat sale to China under the new trade pact between the two nations. The hope is that many more sales will follow and that will provide some much-needed support to moribund wheat markets. U.S. Wheat Associates announced late last week that Chinese buyers bought 340,000 tonnes of […] Read more

Fertilizer supply chain said intact

Sheldon Toews is getting phone calls and emails from all the fertilizer retailers in his area advising him to buy now before prices escalate in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He thinks they are using a global health crisis to their advantage and are guilty of “fear mongering” and “price gouging.” “I just find it […] Read more


Pulse Canada calls for transport plan

Canada needs a transportation resiliency plan, says a senior executive of a major agricultural commodity group. This shipping season has highlighted how vulnerable the system is to a myriad of disruptions, said Pulse Canada president Greg Cherewyk. There has been a perfect storm of obstacles in 2019-20. But there will always be something interrupting the […] Read more

Falling loonie takes edge off falling canola markets

If Canadian canola farmers had the chance on Jan. 1 to convert all their stored canola into an equivalent value of gold bricks, should they have done it? “Your investment in gold bricks would have performed worse than canola,” said MarketsFarm analyst Bruce Burnett. That is because the Canadian dollar has weakened substantially versus the […] Read more


The history of pandemics shows the downturn in economic activity is swift and brutal, but it is quickly followed by a period of recovery with robust export activity, said Export Development Canada chief economist Peter Hall during a coronavirus webinar. | Screencap via EDC.ca

Bull recovery expected from COVID-19

Canadian exporters reeling from the impact of COVID-19 need to know this is likely a short-term setback, says Export Development Canada. The history of pandemics shows the downturn in economic activity is swift and brutal, but it is quickly followed by a period of recovery with robust export activity. “We do believe that the second […] Read more

Don Smith, vice-president of petroleum and innovation with United Farmers of Alberta (UFA), said diesel fuel costs are at about 2016 levels.
 | File photo

At least farm diesel prices are down

The cost of at least one farm input is tumbling due in part to the global economic impact of COVID-19, says an industry executive. Don Smith, vice-president of petroleum and innovation with United Farmers of Alberta (UFA), said diesel fuel costs are at about 2016 levels. “You’re looking at, at least a 20 to 30 […] Read more

Farmer Kevin Tongue is seen next to a field of alfalfa on his drought-affected farm near Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia in February. There are signs the three-year drought is coming to an end.  |  Reuters photo

Conditions improve in Australia

Canadian farmers should not count on another year of reprieve from one of their biggest competitors, says a market analyst. Weather conditions are finally starting to improve in Australia after three years of devastating drought. “Next year, I would expect to see more competition from Australia if the current atmospheric conditions hold,” said MarketsFarm analyst […] Read more


U.S. firm Pivot Bio says its new biological product takes nitrogen from the air, makes ammonia and excretes the ammonia on corn roots, making it more efficient than fertilizer, seen here as prills in barley seedlings.  |  File photo

Can nitrogen really be upstaged?

SAN ANTONIO, Texas — The manufacturer of a new microbial believes it has a product that will eventually completely displace synthetic nitrogen fertilizer. Pivot Bio held a news conference at the 2020 Commodity Classic conference announcing the findings of its 2019 university and on-farm field trials for Pivot Bio Proven, a new biological nitrogen product […] Read more

Drought in Africa, southern Europe threatens durum crops

Large portions of North Africa are experiencing hot and dry conditions that are threatening the region’s durum crop. “It’s something to look out for,” said MarketsFarm analyst Bruce Burnett. It has been dry through most of North Africa’s rainy period with below average precipitation in every month from November through February. “Unfortunately for them, the […] Read more