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 March 7, 2018

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Commodity Period Price Weekly Movement
Corn CBOT May 3.87 ↑ 13 cents
Soybeans CBOT May 10.65 ↑ 10 cents
Wheat CBOT May 4.97  02 cents
Wheat Minn. May 6.20 02 cents
Wheat Kansas May 5.34  12 cents
Chicago Oats May 2.64  06 cents
Canadian $ March 0.7731 ↓ 0.65 points

Cash Grain prices as of the close, March 7, are as follows: SWW @ $238.66 ($6.50/bu), HRW @ $233.91/MT ($6.37/bu), HRS @ $248.62/MT ($6.77/bu), SRW @ $231.54/MT ($6.30/bu).

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Market Trends

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Market Trends Report for March-April 2018

Monday, March 12, 2018

March is often a time in the grain markets where we can see movement in the production area of South America, which can be impacted by weather events. The big US crop has long been put away and is slowly moving out to end-users across the greater hinterland. Problems in Argentina with severe drought conditions have dominated the landscape over the last 30 days as prices have gone up to become much more volatile based on this weather market. Increasingly so, farmers need to watch the weather maps of South America to get clues of production conditions in the southern hemisphere.

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The USDA is starting in on their projection season. On February 22nd during their Outlook forum predictions for 2018 corn and soybean acres came in equally at 90 million acres. So let the games begin. An even bigger USDA report will come March 29th when the USDA releases its prospective plantings report. Markets will be focused on that day to see if there are any surprises.

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