The R-Brief Vol. 3

Grain Markets

Canola prices have been strong over the last two weeks, rising as much as $20 to over $480 CAD/mt. Continued weakness in the Canadian dollar combined with strength in soybeans and soy oil are the main drivers of this recent upward move. 

Wheat prices hit a new 5-year low last week at around 465 USD/bu. This continues a downward trend. 

Soybean prices rallied over the last week, climbing over $50 and briefly breaking $9.00 USD/bu. This week, however, prices have fallen to around $8.80 USD/bu. 

Agriculture in the News

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier...Farmer? A Winnipeg based group is working on a program to match retiring members of the Canadian Armed Forces to Jobs in Agriculture. Read about that interesting program here.

Canadian farmers shouldn't rely on a falling Loonie. That's the message from Farm Credit Canada's chief agricultural economist, J.P. Gervais, who also cautioned that in order to stay competitive in global emerging markets, Canadians would have to be world leaders in agricultural innovation. Read more on his comments here.

Speaking of . . . J.P. Gervais, he will be speaking about that very subject at the Precision Agriculture Conference and Agriculture Technology Showcase being held in London, Ontario between February 2nd and 3rd. More information about the conference and an updated list of other presenters here.

Prime Minister Trudeau sent a long letter to the Minister of Agriculture outlining his expectations and priorities for Canadian agriculture. His deliverables include: a new Agri-Food Value Added Investment Fund, a healthy food policy, investment in rail infrastructure, and a replacement of the Growing Forward 2 policy framework. Read what else the Prime Minister had to say here.

Technology

Late to the party . . . DJI, the popular Shanghai-based hobby drone manufacturer, has unveiled its first agriculture-specific platform: the MG-1. It's a flying crop-sprayer that covers up to 10 acres an hour, but can only fly for 12 minutes at a time. Read more about the MG-1 here, and why this move into agriculture by DJI might be driven by new government regulations on drones in China, here.

Drones are Big business. A new research paper predicts the global market for commercial unmanned systems or "drones" will reach 16 Billion USD by 2021. The report notes that "commercial drone agricultural markets will grow significantly as the aircraft are able to perform more cost efficiently than other ways of farming, ranching, and orchard tending". Read about that report here.

But please, watch where you're flying those things! Some "ag pilots" are concerned about the ever-increasing amount of drones they already share the skies with. Read one particular pilot's lamentations on the subject here.

Farmer adds robotic technology to dairy operation, immediately gets more sleep. Read about how the combination of automated milking and attaching wearable GPS devices to cows completely transformed a dairy farm in Newfoundland, here.

Richard RubensteinComment