Canadian Organic Grain Markets Commentary 


  • Markets are on the quiet side for most organic crops currently, as buyers continue to work through previously-contracted supplies. A seasonal slowdown around Christmas and New Year’s is likely to keep buyers on the sidelines for the most part in the weeks ahead. 
  • Market activity is expected to pick up a few weeks into the new year. There are a number of important trade shows happening in late January that typically set off a new round of farmer pricing, once traders get together and re-assess supply and demand levels. Processors will be looking to cover their remaining requirements for the crop year come late winter/early spring.
  • For now, there is decent interest in organic feedgrains at prices around the same levels as we were seeing last fall, $9-9.50/bu for feed wheat and $6-6.50 for feed barley.
  • As is the case with all organic crop markets, one could find organic price indications a buck or two above and below these ranges, but this is the area where we sense there could be some decent trade. 

New-crop: Consider Liquidity in Crop Planning for 2019

Some crops are more liquid than others in the organic space. Depending on the overall volume and the number of interested buyers for a particular crop, you can either find a bid every day, or spend years looking for one. Liquidity is one important consideration for organic farmers formulating seeding plans for 2019. 

Here are some crops that we view as having strong long-term demand prospects, and steady price potential through 2019/2020 crop year:

  • Organic yellow peas have two new demand stories, China and alternative proteins. It’s hard to imagine growth in production overwhelming the buying potential of those two segments in the foreseeable future.
  • Organic chickpeas are already a popular high-end food ingredient for products like hummus and roasted snack foods, and they are now moving into new processed foods categories like pasta as well. 
  • Organic and conventional durum wheat below the maximum residue limit for glyphosate, is increasingly sought-after.
  • Organic flax prices have been between $34-38/bu (give or take a couple bucks, as per the point above on range and volatility in organic markets) for years. When local prices move up near the top end of the range, imports rise. At prices near the bottom end of the range, imports cease, hence the relative balance. Golden flax is a less liquid market but it can fetch a decent premium ($3-5/bu) over brown.

Course Review: 'Nutrition Farming'

Hosted by AgSolutions
Presentations by Graeme Sait and Joel Williams
Winnipeg, Nov 26-29 2018

Review written by Liz DePape, Business Manager for Sustainable Grain

This was one of the most valuable courses I have taken to date.  The most insightful take away for me was to recontextualize plant and soil health.  

I came from conventional input management before joining Sustainable Grain, with its lens on treating the symptoms of the plant with traditional chemicals and fertilizers.  After learning the complex interplay of the micronutrients of the soil I quickly understood that traditional management methods are far too simplified to effectively and holistically aid in soil and plant health. Rather they address symptoms.  
Moving from a mindset of treating symptoms, to one of nurturing health, is a significant shift in ideology and methodology.  In my mind this is comparable to managing high blood pressure via diet, exercise and vitamins instead of through blood pressure medication.  

Consider it a spectrum, where we have conventional input agriculture with poor soil health on one extreme (taking blood pressure meds with no lifestyle modification) and regenerative organic agriculture on the other extreme of management practices (off the meds and managing through lifestyle choices alone).  As one moves away from the conventional extreme by incorporating various regenerative methodologies like conservation tillage, cover crops, intercrops, etc. the farm and the soil shift along the spectrum to a higher health state.  Understanding how to build soil health over time, through the increase in soil organic matter and humus, is critical not only to the health and sustainability of the soil and hence the farm, but also for the environment and human health.  

As it relates to short-term profitability, I now see soil health regeneration and plant health for optimum quality and yield as entwined but distinct. The first is something being worked on and built over time, the latter can be treated in-season to address deficiencies that will adversely impact quality and/or yield. The basis for decision making in this type of management system is testing: soil samples and plant tissue samples.  

Without these tests, one is simply guessing - which leads to over application, misapplication, or lost opportunity. This type of guesswork is expensive and unnecessary. By conducting inexpensive tissue samples you can see what nutrients the plant is deficient in and what foliar in-season nutrition application would be appropriate. This is a sound investment in the quality and grade of your cash crop for the season, while not diminishing your soil health or compromising your farm’s economic health. 

This course was well worth the time and monetary investment.  It helped me to re-learn agronomy and the importance of soil health.  And most important, this puts some discovery and fun back in farming.  

Organic Origination - How Does It Work? 

This past week, Brenda Caners called a large number of farms from Sustainable Grain’s contact list to introduce the company, and to talk about how we can help them sell their organic grain inventories. As Sustainable Grain's Sales and Origination Manager, Brenda C. stays on top of customers’ buying and selling interest, lines up freight, manages contracts and communicates expectations clearly to everyone involved, throughout each transaction. 

Here’s a snapshot of the organic wheat inventories shared with her so far. In addition to wheat, Brenda C. is logging information on all the other grains, oilseeds, pulses and special crops grown by organic and transitioning farms that we know. 

On behalf of Sustainable Grain’s buyer customers, we are taking back information to those same farms on selling opportunities for their crops, such as spot and deferred bids for organic crops, new-crop contracting opportunities, glyphosate-free and transition organic marketing programs. Brenda is careful in her communication with the growers, and working hard to build trust.

We're happy to help.

Have further questions? Drop us a line by emailing our founder, Brenda Tjaden at or visit our website at

Copyright © 2018. Sustainable Grain Inc. All rights reserved.

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Sustainable Grain · Box 4 Group 3 · Dugald, Mb R0E0K0 · Canada

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