La Niña weather condition map

La Niña is coming: Here’s what it means for commodity markets

MCHENRY, Ill. — If the La Niña weather phenomenon that’s forming in the equatorial Pacific Ocean reaches fruition, be prepared for wild commodity market rides.

La Niña impacts weather patterns worldwide and is associated with cooler, wetter conditions along the U.S.-Canadian border and warmer, drier conditions in much of the southern U.S. The phenomenon is caused by cooler Pacific water.

There’s no guarantee the La Niña will form, but if it does Erik Norland, CME Group executive director and senior economist, is concerned about the current agricultural markets.

“Corn, wheat and soy complex options implied volatilities are trading at or near record lows. This might mean that markets are woefully unprepared for a potential La Niña that would bring a wave of volatility,” he said in an Allendale Inc.-hosted webinar. Read more

Rene Van Acker, dean of the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC)

Jobs survey finds growing demand for agriculture graduates

Ontario Agriculture College boosts spots in its agriculture programs by 30 per cent

Written by John Greig, Field Editor, Country Guide

The University of Guelph continues to increase enrollment in its agriculture programs, but graduates will continue to find four jobs available for each of them.

The Ontario Agriculture College (OAC), at the university has boosted spots in its agriculture programs by 30 per cent since 2012 and by 50 per cent in its Bachelor of Science in Agriculture program.

University of Guelph

University of Guelph

However, in the five years since the university last did a similar survey, respondents in agriculture and food processing say they have even more trouble filling jobs in the sector than they did five years ago – 67 per cent of agriculture companies and 51 per cent of food companies report difficulties in recruiting qualified workers. That compares to 40 per cent of agriculture and 28 per cent of food companies reporting similar challenges in 2012. Read more

USDA Chart

USDA Throws Corn a Curve Ball

Divide Between USDA, Trade Yield Estimates Mostly Due to Different Methodologies

In a ballgame eerily similar to last year, USDA threw a curve ball at the corn market Thursday. But unlike last August when the bulls were able to hit that bearish offering and close higher, this year they clearly swung and missed.

Read more

Canola and wheat field photo

Principal field crop areas, June 2017

Canadian producers reported seeding record areas of canola and soybeans in 2017, with the canola area exceeding wheat (all varieties combined) for the first time ever. Seeded acreage of corn for grain and oats also increased. Meanwhile, the areas seeded to all wheat, lentils and barley declined from 2016.

Due to unseasonal early snow last fall, harvesting in some parts of the country was delayed until this spring. Additionally, localized areas reported very wet spring conditions and some flooding occurred in Ontario and Quebec. These conditions may have affected some of the seeded areas reported. Read more

150 years of Canadian agriculture

The 2016 Census of Agriculture marks the 22nd census since Confederation in 1867. Just as Canada as a country has evolved over the past 150 years, so too has the agriculture sector. Agriculture has used innovation to push the bounds of production, transforming farming from the small scale to a highly mechanized and advanced industry.

While there are fewer agricultural operations in Canada than there were in 1871, the average farm size has risen consistently—from 98 acres in 1871 to 820 acres in 2016. Canada reported 14 times as much wheat acreage in 2016 than was reported on the first Census of Agriculture in 1871. There were also 10 times as many pigs and 5 times as many head of cattle as reported in 1871. Read more