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January 2016

Organic prices

Below are the highest organic grain prices (spot market prices unless otherwise indicated) gathered recently by Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development. Sources include farmers and buyers who have shared recent sales prices and theUSDA National Organic Grain & Feedstuffs Report. Prices do not include transportation unless otherwise indicated. Conventional prices come from a mix of sources. USDA prices are in US dollars; the rest of the prices are Canadian.

For vegetable prices, check outCyber-Help for Organic Farmerslists wholesale prices for organic fruit (fresh and frozen) and vegetables (Vancouver).

As we move beyond the harvest window, it is becoming apparent that some organic crops will be in increasingly short supply over the coming year. Our picks for the hot organic crops of 2016 are mustard, brown flax, and hemp and to a lesser extent, milling oats and feed barley. Producers should do their homework with buyers before planting these crops in 2016. What's hot now, may not be hot when you're trying to sell into the marketplace next year. Organic golden flax, one of the hot crops of 2014-15, is one such cautionary tale; it is now in an oversupply position in the marketplace, as is hard red spring wheat. The organic price advantage for peas has disappeared almost overnight as the major pea growing region of the world (India) has underproduced. At $14/bu, the price of conventional peas is now close to the organic price.

Soybeans - feed$20.14 (USDA); conv. $8.78/bu
Oats - milling$7/bu fob farm, $7.50/bu fob farm (April-Aug); conv. $2.70/bu
Flax - brown$36-$44/bu; conv. $11.88/bu (Winnipeg)
Corn - feed$9.16 (USDA); conv. $3.67/bu
Hemp grain$1.80/lb. (MB)
Winter wheat - food$13-$19/bu
Wheat - feed$8.69 (USDA); conv. $5.55/bu (Winnipeg)
Wheat - milling$20/bu
Peas$16-$18/bu; conv. $14/bu
Barley - feed$10.25/bu ($8 US); $3.91/bu (Winnipeg)
Mustard seed - yellow$1.00-$1.15/lb.; conv. $0.51-0.58/lb.
Lentils - French green0.83-0.86/lb.; conv. $0.40-$0.45/lb. (#1)
Millet seed - Red Proso$0.80/lb ($40/bu)

Organic Premium this Month(based on highest organic and conventional prices)

Oats - milling259%
Mustard - yellow167%
Flax - brown$370%
Barley - feed262%
Lentils - French green191%

Check outMAFRD's 2016 organic cost of productionto ensure that you're on track for profitability in 2016. Download the Excel version and customize with your own yield and contract values.


Market opportunities

Horton Ridge Maltin Nova Scotia is looking for a railway car of2-row organic malting barley. They are willing to organize the transportation. ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Grain Millersis buyingorganic oatsat $7/bu fob farm,organic brown flax($36/bu fob farm),organic yellow mustardat $1.00/lb. (fob farm). ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.for oats,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.for flax, andThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.for the specialty grains

Awake Cerealsin Sherwood Park, AB is looking fororganic rattan barley(a hulless variety). ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Tel: 780-940-5557 if you have this commodity on hand or would consider growing it under contract

Cheryl Harder (near Anola, MB) is looking for small volumes of organic feed grains such asred and white wheat,barley, yellow or green peas, and non GMO corn. ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 204 324-6405

A Manitoba food processor is looking for 240 organic growers to contract 100 acres each oforganic Red Proso Millet seedthis spring. The seed sells for $3/lb. and the processor is buying the seed back for $0.80/lb ($40/bu). The crop is seeded at 30 lb./ac. A 3,000 lb. tote will seed 100 ac. This will be a two year contract with bins emptied by August 1st, 2018. ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view 204 878-4839


Build your trade networks

Connect with new buyers at Prairie Organics: Think Whole Farm

Need to build your network of organic buyers? Producers will have a chance to participate in business to business meetings with grain and vegetable buyers right here in Manitoba. B2B sessions are free for producers and small scale food processors. Targeted products include: grains, oilseeds, pulses, vegetables, fruits, and value-added organic products. You do not have to register forPrairie Organics: Think Whole Farmto participate in the B2B meetings. Organic and transitioning producers from AB, SK and MB are welcome.

List of Participants
Best Cooking Pulsespulses
Canadian Prairie Garden Pureesmost feed and food grains, pulses, oilseeds
Fresh Option Organic Deliveryfruits and vegetables
F.W. Cobs Companyfeed grains
Grain Millersfood and feed grains
La Meunerie Milanaisebakery grains/oilseeds
Nature's Organic Gristwheats
MB Harvesthemp
Petcurianmeat and pulses
Westaquafeed grains, corn, malt barley, non GMO corn and soy

If you're interested in participating in these free sessions, send an email toThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.indicating the old or 2016 field crops/vegetables/value-added products that you want to market.


Register for Prairie Organics: Think Whole Farm

Join Manitoba's organic sector for two days of in-depth organic production training at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg February 18th and 19th.

Unwind and meet old and new friends at theThursday evening networking session in Ambassador F at Canad Inns on Pembina Highway (this event is free and pre-registration is not required).

Attend theManitoba Organic AllianceAnnual General Meeting and find out what your organic association has been up to in Room 138 starting at 12:15 on February 18th.

Stay atCanadInns Destination CentreFort Gary 1824 Pembina Highway. Mention "Prairie Organics" and receive a special conference rate of $116 per night for a King Suite and $106 per night for a standard room (2 Queen beds).

A two-day conference pass is $125. This includes lunch and snacks for two days. Student and one-day passes are also available. Note that most of the sessions on vegetable production are on February 18th.

For those of you who cannot make it in person, the sessions in Richardson Auditorium will be streamed live viawebcast. You will be able to ask questions on-line and watch from the comfort of your own home. You will need a high speed internet connection.

Clickhereto visit the conference website. Note that pre-registration is required and there may not be any passes available at the door.


Interested in trying organic bean production?

The University of Manitoba Natural Systems Agriculture lab is looking for farmers who are interested in exploring organic soybean or edible bean production to participate in a farm planning project. The project is open to current organic farmers as well as those who are interested in transitioning to organic.

The project involves working together (farmers and researchers) to develop and implement strategies and individual farm plans that create opportunities to grow organic soybeans or edible beans. This project does not involve any field plots or sampling. Rather, the goal is connect the knowledge of farmers and researchers to create successful crop rotation plans.

Why soybeans and edible beans?
* Soybeans can be a good fit in an organic rotation due to their N fixing capabilities and excellent price premiums.
* Edible beans are also a lucrative organic crop and respond well to good farm management practices.

What do you get out of the project?
* A crop rotation plan that you can apply on your own farm or modify to your needs, based on your current operation and goals for the future.
* A “kitchen table” (or phone) meeting with a university researcher to discuss and modify potential farm plans.
* A group meeting and ongoing connections with farmers participating in the project, including both new and experienced organic farmers. Project participants in 2015 rated these connections the most valuable aspect of the project!
* Support from university researchers as you start implementing your plan.

What does the project require from you?
* Your time – we will need to collect some information from you on your current farming operation, including crops, rotations, equipment, etc. We will also meet individually (in person or by phone) this winter to discuss potential farm plans and will hold a one-day group meeting with all participants in March.
* Your willingness to try something new!

If you are interested or want more information, contactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view or 204-474-6236.


Training for organic crop advisors

The University of Manitoba will be offering a training/mentorship program for agronomists who are interested in providing agronomic advice to organic and ecological farmers. The program will teach agronomists how to work together with organic and ecological farmers to design sustainable farms. Areas that will be covered include soil health, rotation planning, nutrient management, and weed control.

The program begins in Spring 2016 with an in-person training session, followed up with online support for program participants for the growing season. Training sessions will take place in Alberta, Saskatchewan and possibly Manitoba. Exact dates and locations will be announced shortly. The program is open to anyone who is interested, including farmers. If you are interested in attending the program or for more information, please contactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Organic news bytes

More farmers switching to organics

The allure of high organic prices has become irresistible for some growers.

Industry representatives say 2015 was a fantastic year for Canada’s organic grain sector with the number of new producers jumping substantially.

“I’ve done more inspections for new, transitioning growers in 2015 than I (have) in many years beforehand,” said Stuart McMillan, an organic inspector in Manitoba.

“It is existing, conventional farmers (moving to organic).”

Clickherefor the story

What’s hot and what’s not for 2016 crops

Manitoba farmers are facing some tough choice s when it comes to squeezing a profit
out of the crops they grow in 2016.

But the Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development annual crop production guidelines indicate there are still profits to be made in both conventional and organic production

Clickherefor the story (pg 5)

Why it’s so freaking difficult for farmers to source organic feed

Run an Internet search for "organic food shortage" and you'll come up with dozens of stories attesting that demand for certified organic products in North America far outstrips domestic supply, especially when it comes to meat and dairy products.

Clickherefor the story

Canada’s organic market to focus on special crops in 2016

The spotlight is on special crops in Canada’s organic market, as new-crop bids for 2016 start to appear.

“It’s a bit of a switch from normal,” said Laura Telford, organic sector development specialist with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development at Portage la Prairie.

Normally producers see high demand and prices for organic soybeans and wheat, but that’s not the case this year, she said.

Clickherefor the story

A gritty new tool in the war against weeds

Researchers with the University of Illinois have come up with a new tac-
tic in the war against weeds: blasting.
“Abrasive weeding,” a strat- egy that may prove most useful for small-scale organic growers, is proving to be “surprisingly effective,” university research- ers say in a release.

Clickherefor the story (pg. 2)

Organic producers could see net profit levels range from $100 to $300 per acre

Organic production is one way for small farmers to improve their viabil-
ity, an analyst told a seminar at Manitoba Ag Days in Brandon.

Clickherefor the story pg. 3

Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries bets on local food

Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries doubled the amount of local food it bought to serve in restaurants at its two Winnipeg casinos’ restaurants this year, now dedicating 25 per cent of its annual $4-million food budget to local food purchasing.

The food is served at its restaurants at Club Regent and McPhillips Station where approximately 9,000 meals are served weekly. The uptake of local food purchases means increased
demand from companies like Notre Dame Creamery Ltd. to supplying the corporation an
additional 600 pounds of butter, adding over $60,000 to the milk processors’ annual revenues.


Manitoba needs a carbon tax: Beddome

“We know that we need to move towards sustainable agriculture,” said party leader, James Beddome. “And we know that organic agriculture and local agriculture, use less energy and produce less emissions.


EPA Misses Key Deadlines for Analyzing Pesticides' Risks to People, Wildlife

The Environmental Protection Agency missed its own deadlines for completing risk assessments in 2015 for atrazine, glyphosate and imidacloprid, three highly controversial, toxic and commonly used pesticides. The assessments are crucial to understanding the threats the pesticides pose to animals, people and the environment.

Clickherefor the story


The science behind organic

Increasing Soil Organic Matter in Organic Cropping SystemsStuart Grandy and Cynthia Kallenbach, University of New Hampshire

This is a fascinating video that turns traditional thinking about how soil organic matter is formed on its head.

Clickhereto listen to this recorded webinar.

New study finds recycled phosphorous could fertilize 100% of U.S. corn

Needed to fertilize crops, the bulk of phosphorus comes from nonrenewable phosphate rock. While China mines the most — producing almost half the world’s phosphorus — Morocco alone controls three-fourths of global phosphate rock reserves. Year by year those global reserves dwindle, leaving phosphate rock that’s ever lower in quality and ever harder to extract. At the same time, as agriculture expands over the coming decades, experts project increasing demand for mineral phosphorus.

Clickherefor the story

Perennial pastures anchor carbon, reducing greenhouse gas emissions

A substantive shift to pasture-anchored rotations can help farmers build their soil, sequester carbon and address climate change, says a pasture specialist.

E. Ann Clark, who spent much of her 31-year academic career with the University of Guelph, told a recent Ecological Farmers Association of Ontario conference that soil’s capacity to hold organic carbon will change depending on how it’s managed.

Carbon levels are high in forests and native prairie but will drop if the land is cultivated.

Clickherefor the story



February 2 2 pm Conservation buffers to support beneficial insects on organic farmsParticipate in this webinar to learn about the use of conservation buffers on organic farms to attract and sustain beneficial insects and on-farm biodiversity. Clickherefor more details

February 4-5 2016 10 amTwo-day workshop focusing on Grazing Management Principles at Brandon Research Station. Instructor - Blaine Hjertaas. Registration $75.
RSVP toThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; 365-6334

February 9 and10 6:30-8:30 pm 2016 Sell online!Community Futures and the Women’s Enterprise Center are hosting E-Commerce workshops in Morris and Morden on Feb. 9th and 10th, respectively. The workshop will help business that sell online to better understand taxation, licensing & permits, pricing, packaging & shipping, how to use social media and other topics. Cost is $10 (register by Feb. 5). ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or 204-746-6180 for the Morris workshop orThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or 204-239-0135 for the Morden event.

February 14-16 Western Canadian Holistic Management Conference Russell Inn and George P. Buleziuk Conference Centre, RussellFor more info call 204-648-3965 or to register and get details clickhere

February 18 12:15 pm 2016 MOA AGMPlan to attend the Manitoba Organic Alliance Annual General Meeting at Prairie Organics: Think Whole Farm Conference at the University of Manitoba, Room 138. All organic producers in the province are automatically members of MOA. Come and find out what's going on with your organic association

February 18-19 2016 Prairie Organics: Think Whole FarmSee details above

Clickherefor more information and to register

March 9-13 2016 Natural Products Expo West &

March 11-12 Direct Farm Marketing Conference Canad Inns, Portage la PrairieSpeakers include Elspeth McLean-Wile from Wile's Lake Farm Market and Bakery, Hans Steinman from God's Acres, Fran and Dan DeRuyck from DeRuyck's Top of the Hill Farm and many others. Clickherefor complete details and to register.

June 13-14 2016 Taste of Canada Showcase, MinneapolisThis is an agri-food buyer-seller forum where Canadian suppliers can showcase their food products in a tabletop setting while meeting one-on-one with pre-screen US importers, beers and distributors from the retail and foodservice industry. No cost for Manitoba companies to participate. Product categories include: edible oils, bakery and deserts, specialty foods, and more. ContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Government of Manitoba if you're interested. 204 945-2397