The R-Brief Vol. 5

Grain Markets

Canola prices were weaker over the last couple of weeks, falling below $470 CAD/mt after having traded above $480 CAD/mt for most of January.

Soybeans continued to trade between $860 and $880 USD/bu over the course of the last two weeks.

Wheat prices also remain relatively unchanged, trading around $470 USD/bu.

Agriculture In the News

Canadian farmers are expected to plant significantly more pulses in 2016. Agriculture and Agri-food Canada's first 2016 seeding estimates are forecasting double digit increases in acres seeded for both lentils and peas. The UN may have declared 2016 the year of pulses, but It would appear that high prices due to poor production in India are the main reason for the increased producer interest. The estimate also calls for a reduction in spring wheat. Read that story here.

Canada surpasses U.S. in wheat exports for the first time. Canada overtook the U.S. in wheat export volumes for the first time in 2014-2015 by shipping over 24 million tonnes to destinations around the world. Canada is not expected to outpace the U.S. in 2016 (perhaps because of a switch to pulse production?), but is expected to outpace them more often then not over the years to come. Read the rest of that story from the Globe and Mail here.

"The Iowa Job". A Chinese man plead guilty to charges in a US court in relation to the theft of patent-protected seeds from Iowa cornfields. Mo Hailong admitted to participating in a plot to steal prototype corn seeds developed by Monsanto and Dupont in order to bring them back to China for reverse-engineering. Read about the trial here, and read this story for more on the theft and subsequent apprehension of Hailong. 

From football to farmer. With the NFL football season over, and in the wake of pro-bowl player Marshawn Lynch retiring at the ripe age of 29, here is a fascinating story from a few years ago about Jason Brown, who gave up the latter half of a 5-year, 37.5 million dollar contract with the St. Louis become a farmer! Read that story here.


Christmas drones for all. 45,000 American farmers received drones for Christmas this year, according to Kris Poulson, the Vice President of agriculture at Sentera. Based in Minneapolis, Sentera develops and markets imaging technologies and software management systems for agricultural and industrial drones. Read that story here, and more about the fascinating work Sentera is doing with farm drones here.

Scarecrows brace for rough days ahead. A pest-control company based in Chicago has developed a unique flying drone that will make scarecrows obsolete. The Prohawk UAV is a quadcopter that autonomously patrols a pre-designated area while emitting a "variety of menacing sounds" in order to keep birds and other small creatures away from an area. Read more about this frightening drone here

Wearable technologies and robotics are changing how dairy farms operate. From electronic tags that track and store information about a specific cow to automated laser-guided milking robots, the future appears to be now in dairy farming. Read more about this technology in action, and how Europe is leading the way in implementing here.


Richard RubensteinComment