Solid gains reported for organic grains, uneven growth for livestock

An ag economist says tight organic grain imports have continued to support prices to the extent feed grade soybeans are running at a premium to food grade.

Ryan Koory with Mercaris tells Brownfield organic soybean imports make up about 75 percent of supplies but imports are lagging and prices have risen.

“Over the summer we’ve actually seen some spot purchases of beans being used for crush and for producing organic soybean feed that are actually food-grade soybeans,” he says.

Price summaries from Mercaris indicate feed grade soybeans averaged nearly $30 per bushel at the beginning of the third quarter, up more than $9 on the year.

Koory says Argentina has been the largest single supplier of organic soybeans, but imports are down by about 30 percent which is likely tied to pandemic and port disruptions.

Organic livestock producers have felt the feed pinch and Koory says uneven demand has followed record sales reported at the onset of the pandemic. 

Mercaris estimates organic broiler production to increase by one percent in 2021 while egg layers are up 11 percent and organic turkey production is up 12 percent.  Organic fluid milk sales have slowed which Koory says might even end the year somewhat lower.

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