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February 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).

Many of the prices below come from the organic grain buyers' panel atPrairie Organics: Think Whole Farmat the University of Manitoba on February 18th. Speakers included Tristan Gill from Westaqua, Terry Tyson from Grain Millers and Jason Freeman from Farm Direct Co-op. According to the buyers, in-demand crops include feed barley, milling oats, brown and golden flax, yellow mustard and yellow peas. Apparently the entire yellow mustard crop is destined for Europe. Organic pea and oat prices are expected to climb further next year. Forage peas seem to be in demand right now and are commanding very high prices in the marketplace. The organic price advantage over conventional is shrinking for lentils with high conventional prices. Panelists suggested that purchasing a Kwik Clean machine to clean grains to 95% before leaving the farm would be a good investment. Organic grain screenings have a value of around $170 MT. You can sell the screenings to neighbouring organic livestock producers. Drying grains to the appropriate moisture level is critical for realizing premium prices. HRSW should be dried to 13.5% moisture, beans should be dried to 16%, lentils to 13.5%, red lentils to 12%.

Soybeans - feed - crushed$25-$30/bu
Oats - milling$8/bu fob farm (old crop); $7/bu fob farm (Sept-Dec 2016); $7.50/bu fob farm (Jan-March 2016)
Oats - feed$4.50-$5.50/bu fob farm
Barley - feed$8-10/bu fob farm
Barley - food$12.50/bu
Flax - brown$40/bu
Flax - golden$40/bu
Hemp grain$1.80/lb
Wheat - einkcorn$30/bu dehulled
Wheat - feed$11-13/bu
Wheat - milling soft white spring$20/bu
Peas - food grade yellow$16-21/bu; conv. $14.07/bu
Peas - food grade green$18-$20/bu; conv. $8.86/bu
Peas - feed$8-18.30/bu
Mustard seed - yellow$1/lb; conv. $0.55/lb
Mustard seed - brown$0.90/lb; conv. $0.35/lb
Lentils - large green$0.80/lb; conv. $0.72-0.76/lb
Lentils - black or red$0.75/lb double cleaned (colour sorted); conv. $0.48/lb (#1)
Chickpeas$0.95/lb; conv. $0.45/lb
Beans - faba$0.95/lb
Beans - black$0.95/lb; conv. $0.23/lb
Beans - pinto$0.95/lb; conv. $0.29/lb

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

Mustard - yellow182%
Mustard - brown257%
Peas - food green225%
Peas - food yellow149%
Beans - black413%
Beans - pinto328%
Lentils - large green105%
Lentils - red156%

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.


Direct Farm Marketing Conference

Plan to attend this two-day conference for direct farm marketers at Canad Inns Portage la Prairie March 11 and 12th.

Keynote speaker: Elspeth McLean-Wile of Wile's Farm Market & Bakery.

Other Speakers
Jeff Fidyk, MAFRD
Juanita Kopp, MAFRD
Fran and Dan DeRuyck, DeRuyck's Top of the Hill Farm
Alana Henuset, Food Development Centre
Cory Van Groningen, VG Meats
Hans Steinman, God's Acres
Tom Gonsalves, MAFRD
Jocelyn Gaudet, Nicole LeClair and Theresa Chernecki, MB Consumer Monitor Food Panel
Tanis Podobni, Meandher Creek Pumkin Patch
Susie Erjavec Parker, Sparker Strategy Group

Erin Crampton, Crampton's Market
Carlyle Bennett, MAFRD

Cost $150

VisitManitoba Direct Farm Marketing Conferencefor more information


Training for organic crop advisors

In partnership with the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative, The University of Manitoba will be offering a training/mentorship program for agronomists and producers who are interested in providing agronomic advice to organic and ecological farmers. The program will teach participants how to work together with organic and ecological farmers to design sustainable farms.

This year-long program involves one initial in-person session in 2016, followed by support throughout the next 12 months. The support involves direct access to instructors and to each other through social media. Participants will be equipped with data gathering and decision support tools at the 2016 session.

These tools will enable participants to take a systematic and comprehensive approach when working with farmer clients. Participants will meet again in 2017 to report on progress in organic crop advising: to share experiences with other agronomists/producers and to suggest improvement to decision support resources. CEU credits pending.

2016 Sessions

Moose Jaw SK, March 21, Wood Acres, 690 7th Ave. SE. To register, clickhere
Lacombe AB, March 23, Field Crop Development Centre, 5030 - 50th Street. To register, clickhere
Carman MB, Date TBA, Ian N. Morrison Research Farm, Registration will open in May

Cost $159.60

For more details contactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Glacier Farm Media launches new publication

Glacier Farm Media will track prices and trends in the organic grain sector in a new publication launched at Prairie Organics: Think Whole Farm. The publication will be available to subscribers for free for the first few months. Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development will be phasing out publication of the organic grain pricing information provided in Organic Bytes.

Clickhereto view OrganicBiz
Clickhereto sign up to the OrganicBiz mailing list


Organic news bytes

More farmers looking at organic potential

High prices and the prospect of fewer input costs are attracting more farmers to organic farming in Manitoba.

At least 30 farmers began a transition in 2015, convinced they can become more profitable using a farming system that also costs less to operate, says provincial organic specialist Laura Telford.

They are conventional farmers who’ve crunched the numbers and are seeing a business case to convert, she said.

Clickherefor the story

Organic potatoes a tough row to hoe — but profitability makes the effort to produce them worthwhile

It was more than a hunch that prompted one of Canada’s leading potato producers to begin to transition a few acres to an organic production system in 1999.

The evidence was mounting that organics had potential, said Wayne Rempel, CEO of Kroeker Farms Ltd. in an interview.

Clickherefor the story

Organic conference draws a crowd

The game of chess isn't learned easily, requires forward thinking and you have to like playing it. That's why University of Manitoba Plant Scientist Martin Entz compares it to organic farming.

Clickherefor the story

Conversion to organic paid off for this Pipestone-area farm

Owners of a Pipestone-area farm that has more than tripled its cropped acres in less than a decade say its all due to switching from conventional to organic.

Bryce Lobreau, who farms with his parents Danny and Robin, said they decided to transition their farm in 2009 to add more value to their small livestock operation.

“We were just trying to create some extra income out of the cattle,” said Lobreau. “Times were gruelling through the recession.”

It might have seemed like a gamble at a time when consumers of organics were also feeling the pinch of a downturned economy.

Clickherefor the story

Editorial: Ideology and modern farming

Whenever the subject of organic agriculture surfaces in a discussion about modern farming, the “yabuts” start flowing fast and sometimes, furiously.

Ya but organic farmers don’t produce as much as “conventional‚” farmers do, so if everyone went organic, there would be shortages, more pressure on land and higher food prices. And so it goes.

Those “yabuts‚”are rooted in a certain ideology about agriculture that is deeply entrenched in practice, policy and even our language — a view that organic agriculture is an outdated and inefficient farming system that romanticizes the good old days.

Clickherefor the story

Seed grower’s website provides cover crop info

A Saskatchewan farmer is creating a how-to website for cover cropping in Western Canada.

Kevin Elmy, who runs Friendly Acres Seed Farm in Saltcoats, Sask., set up a website this winter It provides a list of seed retailers selling cover crops and the types of species for sale.

Clickherefor the story

Agriculture at the crossroads

The art of agriculture or, for some, its spiritual essence, should be valued as much as the science, says a farmer from Ontario.

“We have to realize everything is interconnected and we cannot live in isolation,” Chris Boettcher told the Guelph Organic Conference Jan. 29.

“It may be that we’re entering the second age of enlightenment.”

Clickherefor the story

High-disturbance seeding can be as erosive as a plow

The era of black summerfallow is over, and direct seeding and zero tillage have pretty much solved problems of soil erosion on the Prairies. Or so goes conventional wisdom.

Not so, says David Lobb, a professor in the University of Manitoba’s department of soil science and senior research chair for the Watershed Systems Research Program (WSRP).

Clickherefor the story


Videos from Prairie Organics

Videos from the recent Prairie Organics Conference held at the University of Manitoba are slowly being posted by the Manitoba Organic Alliance/Organic Food Council of Manitoba.

If you missedMarvin Dyck's excellent presentationon organics at Kroeker's Farms organic division PGF Organics, now is your chance to catch up. Thanks to MOA/OFCM volunteer Eric Rempel of for producing the video.

Stay tuned for more videos from this inspiring conference.

Videotaped presentations from the Organic Room at Ag Days are availablehere


The science behind "organic"

Organic Agriculture in the 21st Century

Organic agriculture is featured as the cover story for February issue of the journal Nature Plants. The article was authored by John Reganold and Jonathan Wachter. This is the first study to analyze 40 years of scientific data comparing organic and conventional agriculture on productivity, economics, environment, and community well being.

Researchers concluded that it is possible to feed a growing population while keeping sustainability goals at the forefront. The review of hundreds of published studies provides evidence that organic farming can produce sufficient yields, profitability, along with environmental protection.

Clickherefor the article

Clickherefor a related story in the Manitoba Cooperator

Organic, conventional show nutrient differences

Studies published in the British Journal of Nutrition found differences in the nutritional composition of organic and conventionally-produced foods.

The two latest were published Feb. 16 and publicized by Newcastle University in the United Kingdom. They compare organic and conventional milk and meat.

The milk study is a systematic review of 170 papers on milk and dairy products.

“Overall, it can be concluded that a switch from intensive conventional to organic production standards will result in substantive improvements in milk fat composition,” the study states.

Clickherefor the story



March 9 2016 Transition to Organic Grain, Moosomin, SKSponsored by SaskOrganics and the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative . ClickThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view register or call 306 535-3456. Cost $60. This includes lunch and an Organic Farming on the Prairies Manual. $25 for each additional person from the same farm.

March 9-13 2016 Natural Products Expo West &

March 10 2016 Controlling Perennial Weeds in Organic ProductionHalf day workshop in Regina sponsored by SaskOrganics and the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative featuring Keith Bamford of the University of Manitoba. ClickThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view register or call 306 535-3456. Cost $50

March 11 2016 Controlling Perennial Weeds in Organic ProductionHalf day workshop in Saskatoon sponsored by SaskOrganics and the Prairie Organic Grain Initiative featuring Keith Bamford of the University of Manitoba. ClickThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view register or call 306 535-3456. Cost $50

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.

March 12 1-5 pm OPAM Annual General MeetingUkrainian National Home, 1133 Stickney Avenue, Brandon

April 21 2016 Why Crossing the Line is Good For Business – Fact-Finding Trip to the US and Canada BordersThis full day mission will provide new and existing MB companies the opportunity to learn how to properly import/export. Key topics include; dealing with border issues such as travel and immigration requirements, custom clearance procedures, custom brokers and freight forwarders and taxation and legal considerations. Please note we have tailored a section of the program to food processors/producers to make it easier to understand the additional complexity of importing/exporting food products across the borders.

You can register onlinehere, but you will need your passport to do so.

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

July 28 8:30 am - 4:30 pm 2016 Manitoba Horticultural SchoolPortage la PrairieContactThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.for more information