Rain in the East, Drought in the West Affecting Organic Crops

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While organic farmers in Western Canada are praying for rain, their counterparts in Ontario are praying for the land to dry out.

“It’s kind of been stop and go… when things get just close enough to being dry we get more moisture,” said Andrew St. Jean, of Beechwood Organics in Parkhill, Ont.

In Western Canada rain fell just before the Victoria Day weekend, however large areas missed out on the moisture.

A couple of places, fairly large areas, got some showers and kind of just what the doctor ordered. – Scott Shiels

“Organic things are germinating. But if they don’t get rain here soon they’re gonna definitely go backwards… I just went by the field today and (my crop) is poking up,” said Jason Breault of RW Organics at Mossbank, Sask.

Further north the situation is better, in the Yorkton, Sask. area fields received rain but more moisture is still needed.

“It’s a little on the drier side but there’s been some rain in the last week. A couple of places, fairly large areas, got some showers and kind of just what the doctor ordered,” said Scott Shiels, of Grain Millers Inc. in Yorkton.

While the dry weather has allowed some organic producers in Western Canada to already have seeding wrapped up, things are behind schedule in Ontario. St. Jean estimates that seeding progress is half of where it was last year at this time.

“It’s been a slow planting season. Some areas are really wet and they haven’t been able to do much of anything,” he said.

While seeding progress in Ontario hasn’t been the best story for producers, the markets are another story. Good domestic demand has led to a strong market for organic crops. Organic feed crop prices have been rising due to growth in the organic pig sector.

In Western Canada organic prices are starting to level off. Most processors are filled up and there aren’t a lot of bids out for 2017 crop.

“It’s keeping the prices pretty quiet. Looking into the New Year prices look strong, nothing really lighting the world on fire but consistent,” Shiels said.