Drought likely to add to organic market upswing

An ag economist says he’s watching to see how dry weather impacts organic crops as the market continues to tighten and prices escalate.

Ryan Koory with Mercaris tells Brownfield organic feed grade corn this month is up about $3 per bushel to $9.25 delivered and organic soybeans are priced at $30 or more, up at least $10 compared to the start of the marketing year.

“If we do see this drought condition continue to intensify over the remainder of this summer, and it really does start to eat into yields, then that could become a catalyst for these prices to persist if not push higher,” he says.

Planting of organic field crops has wrapped up about two weeks earlier than normal with the dry conditions and Koory says some of the major production areas of organic feed crops are deep into drought conditions.

“In states like Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota—there’s been quite a bit of dryness reported there pretty much this whole year, and we’ve only seen those conditions intensify,” he says.

Koory is also concerned about organic wheat quality and yields in dry areas.

“It’s looking like it’s going to be a fairly uneven growing season and uneven harvest this year given the trends we’ve seen so far through spring,” he says.

He says the wide adoption of cover crops in organic systems could serve as a benefit with the potential for higher soil moisture levels, but more rain is needed to support crop health ahead of pollination.

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