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The Grains in Action Experience

Blog post by Natalie Walt, Grains in Action 2016 participant

Over four days in February, I had the opportunity to spend time with 30 peers from assorted backgrounds from across the grain industry. We toured Southwestern Ontario learning about the grain production process and how it moves from farm to fork or a variety of other end uses.

grains in action participants

We were given in-depth tours and presentations at Ontario grain elevators, port terminals, an ethanol plant, and a flour mill. I currently work in agribusiness in grain merchandising, so the information presented was highly relevant to understanding how my role fits into the bigger picture of the grain industry.

Most interesting to me was the flour mill in Cambridge, owned by Parrish & Heimbecker. We were given a top-down tour of the 200 year old mill, explaining the processes the kernels of wheat go through in order to be ground into a usable product for industrial, retail, and food service customers. I also learned about the various market classes of wheat within Ontario. Each of these classes have a unique set of traits that affect their milling characteristics Some are great for cakes and pastries, while others are more suited for crackers and flatbreads.

grains in action 2016

The most entertaining stop of the tour was undoubtedly Hiram Walker & Sons Ltd. in Windsor. Master Blender, Dr. Don Livermore took us through a fascinating and lively presentation on the history of whisky and how Canadian farmers contributed to the rise in popularity of this beverage. He explained how Canadian grains are perfectly blended to create a flavour profile that is unique from other countries' version of this drink.

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Weekly Commentary

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Grain Market Commentary for August 16, 2017

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Commodity Period Price Weekly Movement
Corn CBOT September 3.52  20 cents
Soybeans CBOT November 9.25  53 cents
Wheat CBOT September 4.20  44 cents
Wheat Minn. September 6.73  60 cents
Wheat Kansas September 4.20  24 cents
Chicago Oats September 2.60  10 cents
Canadian $ September 0.7898  0.15 points

Harvest 2017 prices as of the close, August 16 are as follows:
SWW @ $182.43/MT ($4.96/bu), HRW @ $189.46/MT ($5.16/bu),
HRS @ $254.49/MT ($6.93/bu), SRW @ $187.11/MT ($5.09/bu).

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Market Trends Report for August-September 2017

Monday, August 14, 2017

US and World

It has been an uneven growing season in much of the American corn belt. The Western corn belt has been dry especially in the Dakotas, while the mid south and Eastern corn belt were inundated with heavy rains earlier in the spring. The forecast in late July turned cooler and wetter for all of the American corn belt. This new forecast essentially changed much of the outlook for the American crop, but still many analysts were expecting lower August USDA numbers reflecting some of the earlier tough conditions for US corn and soybeans. Anticipation of the August 10th USDA report was filled with expectations of lower yield projections.

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On August 10th, the USDA lowered their projected corn yield estimate to 169.5 bushels per acre down from their earlier projection of 170.7 bushels per acre and less than last year's 174.6 bushels per acre. At the same time the USDA raised soybean yield expectations to 49.4 bushels per acre up from their 48 bushels per acre earlier estimate. This pegged 2017/18-soybean production at 4.4 billion bushels. Both of these USDA estimates rocked the grain market August 10th, as it was a big surprise. With so much uneven weather affecting this crop in the field a US corn yield of 165-166 bushels per acre was a general trade estimate. Futures prices plummeted on this very bearish report.

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