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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 October 12, 2017

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Commodity Period Price Weekly Movement
Corn CBOT December 3.49  06 cents
Soybeans CBOT November 9.92  34 cents
Wheat CBOT December 4.30  12 cents
Wheat Minn. December 6.12  02 cents
Wheat Kansas December 4.26  10 cents
Chicago Oats December 2.62  16 cents
Canadian $ December 0.8030  0.15 points

Harvest 2017 prices as of the close, October 12 are as follows: SWW @ $183.52/MT ($4.99/bu), HRW @ $192.67/MT ($5.24/bu), HRS @ $238.89/MT ($6.50/bu), SRW @ $188.09/MT ($5.12/bu).

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Market Trends

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Market Trends Report for October-November 2017

Monday, October 16, 2017

It is that time of year again when combines are rolling. However, uneven weather in parts of the American corn belt and Ontario has delayed harvest. There is nothing particularly unusual about this as we have it every year. US crops are huge coming off the fields and the market will certainly be making further adjustments. The final determinant on yield will come in the January USDA report. However, the October USDA report released October 12th helped to re-focus the trajectory of grain prices as we head into the end of the 2017.

In the October 12th report USDA increased US national corn yield to 171.8 bushels per acre, an increase of 1.9 bushels per acre over their September estimate. This put 2017/2018-corn production at 14.28 billion bushels on the high-end of pre-report estimates. The USDA also pegged corn-ending stocks at 2.34 billion bushels, which was up 5 million bushels from their September estimate. This number was a bit of a surprise especially with which dry weather throughout the American Midwest the summer.

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USDA estimated soybean production to be at 4.431 billion bushels, which was a decrease from their September estimate. This was based on a .4 bushel/acre cut in US national yield down to 49.5 bushels per acre. However, the US soybean harvested acreage is at a record high of 89.5 million acres, which was up 1% from the USDA September estimate. The US domestic soybean ending stocks were also pegged at 430 million bushels, which was down 45 million bushels from their September estimate. This was generally looked at as bullish on report day and soybeans responded by going up $.26 a bushel. US domestic wheat stocks were set at 960 million bushels, which was 27 million bushels higher than their September estimate.

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