It’s widely believed that China is holding Canadian canola hostage because of Canada’s handling of a U.S. extradition request involving a senior Chinese business executive.  |  Reuters photo

Over-dependence on one volatile market is a problem

Canola prices have fallen to around the same low level they hit the last time we were having trade issues with China back in the summer of 2016. Back then, China’s concern was the level of dockage and its potential to raise the introduction of blackleg disease. The Chinese are being less specific this time, […] Read more

A fall-seeded rapeseed field blooms near Cambrai, France, last April. Dryness in Western Europe is raising concerns about the condition of fall-seeded crops as they prepare to come out of dormancy soon.  |  REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol photo

Spring weather will soon become market consideration

Dry weather in North Africa and parts of Europe as well as worries about the potential for delayed spring seeding in the U.S. Midwest will likely start to be issues for market discussion in the coming weeks. So far in 2019 crop prices have been lackadaisical, weighed down by ample world stocks and the ongoing […] Read more

Large supply in the United States has hurt hog futures, but some analysts think help could be coming from China, where the country might have to start buying more pork to offset massive herd liquidations caused by African swine fever.  |  File photo

Speculation grows about future Chinese pork imports

Hog producers might have dodged a fourth-quarter price collapse, but futures since then have cratered as American pork production exceeded expectations. But hog futures prices could rally later this year depending on what happens in China as it battles African swine fever in its herd. One Canadian analyst, Jim Long, suggests that once the unprecedented […] Read more

The fight in Washington over the Renewable Fuel Standard will have major implications for the future state of the ethanol industry.  | File photo

U.S. ethanol future tied to bumper crop of D.C. politics

Ethanol producers in the United States achieved another record year in 2018, with production climbing 1.9 percent to 16.1 billion U.S. gallons processed from about 5.6 billion bushels of corn, or about 38 percent of the 2017-18 crop. But ethanol producers are not content. They are vexed by the actions of the U.S. Environmental Protection […] Read more

The increasing productivity of new technology makes possible reductions in the carbon footprint of each unit of agricultural production,which is a compelling brand that farmers, processors and government can all present.  |  File photo

Science partnership is good branding for agriculture

Success in marketing often rests on how you can differentiate your product from the other guy’s — in other words, branding. Branding is your image and the way you portray the story of your product. Tim Hortons is all about everyday Canadians, hockey and the grit needed to get through winter, while Starbucks portrays urban […] Read more

It’s possible that changing choices at the grocery store are the beginning of a permanent shift in lifestyle.  |  File photo

Move to meatless meals will affect livestock producers

A grocery flyer in my daily newspaper a few days after New Year’s Day caused me to raise my eyebrows. Featuring foods such as almond and coconut drinks, gluten-free pasta, and veggie protein meat replacement products, it was dedicated to vegetarian and organic foods, protein powders and vitamins. But it did not come from a […] Read more

Studies such as the recent Canada’s Food Price Report 2019 are often taken out of context by emphasizing the worst possible outcomes. In actual fact, the study’s findings aren’t as bad as what has been reported.  |  File photo

Food costs might rise modestly but are still affordable

One challenge journalists face is to provide context to the issues and events they cover while mindful of the space and time constraints inherent in their medium. Facts by themselves might yield little meaning or the wrong meaning if they are not given context. I yearned for a little more context in the reporting on […] Read more

Algeria is starting to succeed in its efforts to become self-sufficient in durum.  |  File photo

Big Algerian durum crop weighs down price prospects

When searching for the reason for poor durum prices this year we know Italy’s country-of-origin labelling requirement is a problem, but we must also note Algeria’s pursuit of durum self-sufficiency. Algeria is often the largest buyer of Canadian durum, so it raised eyebrows a few years ago when the government decided it would be better […] Read more

Torrid exports early in the crop year mean Agriculture Canada’s forecast of full year wheat exports of 22.3 million tonnes is in reach.  |  REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin photo

China boosts Canada’s early season wheat export pace

Canada exported 5.44 million tonnes of wheat in the first 15 weeks of the crop year, which is likely a record amount for this time of year, helping to keep Canada’s overall crop export pace ahead of last year. The Canadian Grain Commission weekly statistics report showed a very strong export performance in week 15 […] Read more

The forecast for U.S. year-end soybean stocks is ballooning to a record high because of that country’s trade war with China.  |  File photo

U.S. soy stocks rise while China swims in ocean of corn

There are several take-away messages from the November monthly supply and demand report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If you take China’s stocks out of the totals, global corn and wheat year-end stocks should shrink this year compared to last, providing support for grain prices. The November estimate of the U.S. soybean crop is […] Read more