The R-Brief Vol. 9

Grain Markets

Canola prices have been weaker of late. After trading as high as $530 CAD/Mt. in May and early June, prices have fallen off to below $480 CAD/Mt. Canola’s lowest levels in 2016 were in early March, when prices bottomed out at around $445 CAD/Mt. Look for those levels to be tested once more if Canola breaks below $460 CAD/Mt. 

Soybean prices saw a large move to the upside beginning in April, climbing from their March low of $860 USD/bu. all the way up to $1,160 USD/bu. in early June. Since then, prices have cooled off slightly, but still remain around $1,060 USD/bu. Any material moves to the upside or downside would certainly cause other grain commodities to follow in tow.

Wheat prices have fallen materially since trading above $500 USD/bu. in early June. July saw Wheat prices fall roughly $100 USD/bu. to below $420 USD/bu. before bouncing back slightly to their current levels of roughly $430 USD/bu.
 

Agriculture in the News

Northern Ontario Escaping Drought Plaguing Southern and Eastern Ontario. Southern and Eastern Ontario Farmers are labouring through an aberrantly dry spring and summer, marked by rainfall 100 mm below normal in some areas from April to June. Most of Northern Ontario has so far escaped drought conditions, but it has been a hot, humid summer wherever you are in Ontario. Read more on Ontario's long hot summer here.

Who Farmed First?. Scientists have uncovered remains from four humans in the Zagros Mountains (Iran) that they say were eating domestically grown crops 9,000 years ago, which challenges existing theories about farming's origins. According to report, scientists now believe that farming was "invented" more than once; multiple groups of humans were finding similar solutions to grow food independent of one another. Read more here
 

Technology

Monsanto, Meet Microsoft. The biotech and software giants announced that they are teaming up to invest in agricultural technology startups in Brazil. Monsanto will join a Brazilian investment fund with roughly $90 million USD managed by Microsoft. The fund will be evaluating ideas for new technologies to be applied to Brazilian agriculture. Read more about this effort, here.

A Farm Drone Company Is Going Public. AgEagle, a Kansas-based agricultural drone design and manufacturing company, recently announced its plans for an initial public offering. AgEagle sold their first drones in 2011. They are looking to raise between USD $13 and 15 million for around 40% of their shares outstanding. Shares will be listed under the ticker “UAVS”. While they only spent $14,000 on R&D in 2015, they plan to spend over $7 million of their IPO proceeds on R&D going forward. Read more on that story here.

A Greenhouse On The Frontier. A Yukon inventor has won this year's Yukon Innovation Prize for his thermodynamic smart greenhouses - a greenhouse that automatically responds to changes in temperature. Solar panels are used to heat an underground pool of water that sits beneath the structure, which allows for very flexible temperature control. The prize money will be used to help develop a flagship prototype, which the inventor hopes to perfect within three years. Read the rest of that story, here