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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 September 20, 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Commodity Period Price Weekly Movement
Corn CBOT December 3.50  01 cents
Soybeans CBOT November 9.70  11 cents
Wheat CBOT December 4.50  07 cents
Wheat Minn. December 6.22  12 cents
Wheat Kansas December 4.48  05 cents
Chicago Oats December 2.46  08 cents
Canadian $ December 0.8115  0.75 points

Harvest 2017 prices as of the close, September 20 are as follows:
SWW @ $190.53/MT ($5.19/bu), HRW @ $199.60/MT ($5.43/bu),
HRS @ $241.11/MT ($6.56/bu), SRW @ $195.06/MT ($5.31/bu).

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Market Trends

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Market Trends Report for September-October 2017

Monday, September 18, 2017

US and World

Across the US corn belt American farmers are starting to harvest another huge crop. The growing season was uneven with widespread drought in the Northwest plains and quite a wet start in the Eastern corn belt. This was accentuated by somewhat dry conditions in mid-summer, but it looks like good genetics and modern farming methods have won out. As we careen into October, US farmers are set to harvest their third-largest corn crop and the largest soybean crop ever.

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On September 12th the USDA released their latest estimates of US crops. USDA estimated US corn production would come in at 14.184 billion bushels, with an average yield of 169.9 bushels per acre. This was seen as a bit of a shock to the market as traders were expecting lower yield estimates. The USDA also increased 2017/18 ending stocks to 2.335 billion bushels, up 62 million from their August report. This US crop is approximately 6% less than last year with the yield 4.7 bushels per acre lower.

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