Organic durum prices higher, winter wheat lower in quarter

by Ron Sterk
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Organic grain chart

KANSAS CITY — Prices for organic food-grade durum and soybeans moved higher in the third quarter, hard red winter wheat and corn prices weakened, and hard red spring wheat held about steady, according to Mercaris, the organic and non-G.M.O. market information company and trading platform.

Food-grade organic durum wheat trade volumes moved higher in November and pushed prices out of their third-quarter slump, Mercaris senior economist Ryan Koory said in a new monthly report to Milling & Baking News. Organic durum averaged $16.58 a bu in the October-November period while trading in a wide range of $8 to $22 a bu, up $6.87 from August-September and up $5.95 from October-November 2016.

Organic soybean prices also advanced, Mr. Koory said, as did trading activity, with prices averaging $22.34 a bu in the October-November period and trading in a range of $17 to $23.50 a bu, with the average up 54c from September-October, up $1.78 from August-September and up $1.42 from a year earlier.

Ryan Koory, Mercaris
Ryan Koory, senior economist for Mercaris

“This bullish trend had helped keep soybean prices higher year-over-year by more than $2 per bu since June of this year,” Mr. Koory said.

Prices for organic hard red spring wheat were little changed over the last half of 2017, holding around $19.50 a bu. Prices averaged $19.87 a bu in the October-November time frame, down 1c from September-October but up 57c from August-September, trading in a range of $19 to $22 a bu in the latest two months.

Organic food-grade hard red winter wheat prices averaged $9.95 a bu in October-November, down nearly $3 a bu from the August-September period. Most volume traded in a range of $9 to $11 a bu.

Corn prices weakened slightly in the fourth quarter, averaging $9.77 a bu in October-November, down 17c from September-October, up 5c from August-September and down 10c from a year earlier.

"Organic corn prices have continued to trend lower into the fourth quarter, following slower trade activity and a tightening of the traded price range,” Mr. Koory said.

He also noted that available supplies of organic grain typically tighten in the fourth quarter, and spot supply seldom is available. Most organic grain is contracted in the late winter or early spring, ahead of planting, and in some cases two or three years forward. Since part of the organic production process requires crop rotation, grain buyers need to plan two or three years in advance to ensure adequate supply, he said. Demand for organic food-grade and feed-grade grain continues to far outstrip supply, even with large increases in organic production, he said.

Mercaris is a comprehensive source of market data and on-line trading for feed-grade and food-grade organic and non-G.M.O. commodities based in Silver Spring, Md. For more information visit 

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