The R-Brief Vol. 2

Grain Markets

Canola prices fell roughly 10 CAD/MT over the last two weeks, but the downward move appears to have found a bottom at around 460 CAD.

Wheat prices have lightly "seesawed" over the last two weeks on relatively low volume. The swings have been minor, with the lows over the last two weeks being 485 USD/BU, and the highs around 495 USD.

Soybeans have been positive over the last two weeks, with prices moving up more than 10 USD/BU on increasing volume. Prices still remain near 5-year lows, however.

Agriculture in the News

Ontario announced as host of the annual Canada-US-Mexico Tri-National Agricultural Accord meeting. This high-level meeting will be held in Ontario. It runs from September 6th to 8th, 2016 in Niagara Falls. More on that here.

The Ontario government is being urged to protect provincial farmland by freezing urban boundaries. The recommendation is the key take away from the newly published joint report by the Ontario Federation of Agriculture and Environmental Defence entitled "farmland at risk". The report notes that some of the most fertile farmland in the country is at risk of being "paved over to accommodate an additional 2.5 million people by 2031". Read more here and the entire report here.

Good Morning, Vietnam! The newly elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged a 13 million CAD contribution for a project aiming to support agricultural development in Vietnam. Read that here.

It's official; Humans have been able to digest milk for 4,000 years. A fascinating study on ancient DNA by a team from Harvard Medical School has revealed how agriculture changed our height, digestion, and skin colour. Read that incredible story here.


The agricultural robot market is expected to grow to 16.3 billion USD by 2020. According to the latest Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research report, the agricultural drone market has the potential to generate 100,000 jobs in the US; and roughly 82 billion USD in economic activity over the next decade. The report also forecasts that 80 percent of the commercial drone industry in the US will be dedicated to agriculture. Read a story on that report here.

Industry sees the end of herbicides in a new robotic weed killer. About the size of a compact car, the Bonirob is being developed by Deepfield Robotics, a startup owned by German manufacturing giant Bosch. It uses cutting edge image recognition technology to identify and destroy weeds at a rate of 120 per minute by pulverizing them deep into the ground. Read more about the technology and how some are saying it could lead to the end of herbicide use here and here.

A Japanese company is building the world’s first robotic farm. Spread, a Japanese food technology company is building a 4,800 square meter facility in Kyoto with plans to produce 30,000 heads of lettuce per day beginning in summer 2017. Read that story here.

Flying robots inspired by honeybees? A video was posted on Ted Talks last week featuring Vijay Kumar, the dean of engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. The video features fascinating flying robots that can work together- and even shows a group of them creating a plant-by-plant map of an orange orchard using a variety of sensors. Watch the video, or read a transcript of the presentation here.


Richard RubensteinComment