Canada: Rail, Infrastructure Gains Give Reason for Optimism
The Western Producer – 08/22/2019
Canada’s two major rail companies have taken heat over the last few years for failure to provide consistent movement of agricultural products. However, now it looks like genuine change is underway. The turnaround is remarkable. After a difficult winter in 2013-14, which the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission says cost around $6.5 billion, and more difficulties during the 2017-18 winter, which cost $7.8 billion in delays according to the Western Grain Elevators Association, it looked like the problems in grain transportation would be with us for some time. However, approval of the Transportation Modernization Act, which changed the maximum revenue entitlements for railroads, brought quick changes, largely through new capital investments. This year looks like it will be close to a record year for grain movement in Western Canada. Canadian National and Canadian Pacific railways invested heavily in new, more efficient cars that could carry more grain and enabled them to ship more cars per train.
Paris Wheat Steadies After Lows as Export Prospects Weighed
Reuters – 08/22/2019
Euronext wheat edged higher on Thursday, consolidating above contract lows with support from a firm trend in Chicago and a weaker euro, while traders assessed a mixed export outlook for west European wheat. Benchmark December milling wheat on Paris-based Euronext settled up 0.75 euro, or 0.4%, at 170.50 euros ($188.90) a tonne in light volumes. It had slipped to a life-of-contract low at 169.00 euros in the previous session. In addition to technical support at current levels, Euronext was underpinned on Thursday by a slight rise in Chicago wheat after three-month lows on the U.S. market. A three-week low for the euro against the dollar, which makes European wheat cheaper overseas, also lent support. But traders said large northern hemisphere supplies and stiff competition from Black Sea suppliers like Ukraine and Romania were keeping a lid on prices “There’s not much newsflow and in wheat when there’s no news it stays a bear market,” one futures dealer said. “With the supply balance and the recovery in harvest production in Europe, the Matif (Euronext) lows make sense.”
China Strikes Back on Trade Dispute with U.S. with New Tariffs
Successful Farming – 08/23/2019
China unveiled on Friday retaliatory tariffs against about $75 billion worth of U.S. goods, putting an additional 10% on top of existing rates in the latest tit-for-tat exchange in a protracted dispute between the world’s top two economies. The latest salvo from China comes after the United States unveiled tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese goods, including consumer electronics, scheduled to go into effect in two stages on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15. China’s commerce ministry said in a statement it would impose additional tariffs of 5% or 10% on a total of 5,078 products originating from the United States including agricultural products such as soybeans, crude oil and small aircraft. China is also reinstituting tariffs on cars and auto parts originating from the United States. “China’s decision to implement additional tariffs was forced by the U.S.’s unilateralism and protectionism,” the Chinese ministry said in a statement, adding that its retaliatory tariffs would also take effect in two stages on Sept. 1 and Dec. 15.
Meet Ryan, WSU’s Elite New Wheat for the Noodle Market
Washington State University – 08/22/2019
Ryan, the newest spring wheat variety from Washington State University, is winning over Northwest farmers and grain buyers across the Pacific, thanks to its surprising ability to create an outstanding fresh noodle. “Ryan has hit harder and generated way more interest than anything I’ve done before,” said Mike Pumphrey, WSU’s O.A. Vogel Endowed Chair of Spring Wheat Breeding and Genetics. “What sets Ryan apart is its quite remarkable noodle quality.” This is the first year that Ryan has been widely available to farmers. Introduced in 2016 and only available in limited quantities until 2019, Ryan led all public spring wheat varieties for certified seed production in Washington last year, according to the Washington State Crop Improvement Association. Not only is Ryan expected to dominate spring wheat acreage this year, WSU scientists say it could transform the market for wheat growers and their customers, here and abroad. “The wheat industry is already setting Ryan apart, keeping it identity-preserved so dealers can sell it for noodles at a premium,” Pumphrey said. “That’s something we’ve never seen with a WSU wheat.”
Montana Famers Watching Weather, Trade Disputes as Harvest Begins
Great Falls Tribune – 08/23/2019
Winter wheat nearly reached Mitch Konen’s hip, but the crop still needed more sun and higher temperatures to lower its moisture a few degrees before he could fire up his combine. “It’s all weather dependent,” Konen said. “And with shorter days and cooler nights, it takes a little longer to finish maturing.” Harvest of winter wheat has begun, with more and more combines rolling through fields of northcentral Montana, including Teton County, where Konen farms. Spring wheat and barley will follow. The harvest is two to three weeks later than usual, frustrating farmers such as Konen eager to get valuable crops cut and stored. This year, as the harvest heats up, that’s not Konen’s only concern. The quiet Montana farmer isn’t shy about speaking up about what he thinks about the tariff tiff between the Trump administration and China, or the decision by the United States to pull out of a trade agreement that Montana wheat farmers say put them at a competitive disadvantage selling wheat to their No. 1 buyer, Japan.
Source: U.S. Wheat Associates