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Market analyst Bruce Trotter gave an overview of the grain markets to farmers attending the Chatham-Kent Farm Show on Thursday, January 29, 2015. BLAIR ANDREWS/ QMI Agency

Grain analyst warns of leaner years ahead for Ontario growers

By Blair Andrews, QMI Agency

The next few years will be leaner when it comes to grain prices, a market analyst for an international feed and grain company warned Thursday at the Chatham-Kent Farm Show.

Bruce Trotter based his sobering outlook on a few factors, including lower growth expectations for China and the ethanol industry.

Trotter, who works in Blenheim as the managing director for the Canadian branch of Dutch-based Cefetra, said the era from 2006 to 2011 was a time of rising land prices and better crop margins driven by bio-fuel mandates and very high growth in China.

But the mandated growth in ethanol and bio-diesel is over, and he described the most recent years as an “ethanol hangover.” Read more

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Most significant risk for the agriculture sector in 2015? Demand!

By JP Gervais, Chief Agriculture Economist

Many agricultural economic drivers are currently quite favourable. Oil prices continue to head lower. The Canadian dollar is at the lowest level of the last five years and interest rates have been low for an extended period of time.

Profit margins are significantly higher than average in the livestock sector. Yes, profits are tighter for the grain and oilseed sector, but the market seems to be carving out a bottom.

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Fall good time to buy fertilizer

By

Farmers are better off buying fertilizer in fall or winter rather than waiting until spring 90 percent of the time, according to Alberta Agriculture.

The department has tracked urea, ammonia and phosphate prices for the past 10 years.

“There has only been one year, and that was in 2008, that spring prices were lower than fall-winter prices,” said Jennifer Stoby, an agricultural input market analyst with Alberta Agriculture.

She encouraged farmers to talk with their retailers this fall about their upcoming needs, especially for nitrogen fertilizers.

“With lower crop prices, guys have been hesitant to buy fertilizer and not really making any decisions,” said Stoby. “If they do wait until spring, there might be some problems actually even getting product.”

Growers who haven’t pre-bought product have faced supply shortages for the last few years, and it could be the same scenario next year.

“Retails aren’t bringing in nearly as much product just to have on hand the same as they have in the past,” said Stoby.

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A farmer winnows wheat with a rake at a farm in Liquan county, Shaanxi province June 13, 2012.
CREDIT: REUTERS/ROONEY CHEN

China to step up control on grain imports as stockpiles rise | Reuters

(Reuters) – China will strengthen control over grains imports and crack down on illegal activities like smuggling in a bid to cut oversupply, with record stockpiles creating storage problems for the new harvest, China’s vice premier said on Friday.

China’s stockpiling policy, under which it buys from farmers at inflated prices, has made cheaper overseas supplies more attractive for end-users like feed mills, forcing the government to take action to try to curb surging imports.

“We will strengthen import and export controls for grains while severely cracking down on irregularities like smuggling in order to stabilizes the domestic market,” vice premier Wang Yang said at a national conference.

China’s rejection of cheap U.S. corn cargoes on the grounds that it contained a genetically-modified strain not permitted for import was also seen as part of Beijing’s efforts curb cheap imports and support domestic corn prices.

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