KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, U.S. — The price of organic food-grade hard winter wheat increased in the July-August period while values for hard red spring, soft red winter and durum wheat declined, according to Mercaris, the organic and non-GMO trading platform and market information company.

Of the four food-grade organic wheat classes quoted by Mercaris, only hard red winter showed price strength in the July-August period, while the other three classes showed notable weakness.

Food-grade organic hard red winter wheat averaged $12.40 a bushel in July-August, up $1.68 from May-June but down $1.08 from March-April. The most recent price was up 77¢ from a year ago.

Organic hard red winter wheat prices have continued moving higher, in contrast to many other organic commodities, with the two-month average price reaching $12.40 per bushel over July and August,” said Ryan Koory, an economist with Mercaris. “Purchasing activity has remained steady, providing bullish support to the market. However, it is not at all certain that this support will be sustainable through the fourth quarter.”

Meanwhile, prices for organic food-grade hard red spring wheat were quoted at $15.58 a bushel in the July-August period, down $1.01 from May-June, down $4.34 from March-April and down $4.23 from July-August 2017.

“Organic hard red spring wheat has continued to decline from its June peak, with the July-August average price declining to $15.58 per bushel, its lowest level since mid-2017,” Koory said. “So far, September has seen the hard red spring price remain fairly stable at its lower level, near $15.50 per bushel.”

Food-grade organic soft red winter wheat prices also declined, quoted at $9.66 per bushel, the July-August price was down $1.19 from May-June, down 36¢ from March-April and down 60¢ from last year.

Durum was quoted at $16.78 a bushel in July-August, down $2.76 from May-June and down 58¢ from March-April but up $3.68 from July-August last year.

“As anticipated, organic durum wheat prices are moving lower over the third quarter, with the July-August average delivered price down $2.76 per bushel from the prior two-month period,” Koory said. “After last year’s drought, 2018 wheat yields look much improved, adding to U.S. supplies. Mercaris has yet to see trade activity increase in response to the increase in supplies. However, with prices being pressured lower, the next few months should provide the opportunity for purchasers to fill any outstanding needs.”

Food-grade organic corn and soybean prices continued to move higher in the latest two-month period.

Corn was priced at $11.36 per bushel in July-August, with no comparison for May-June, up 81¢ from March-April and up $1.63 from a year ago.

“Organic corn prices moved slightly higher over July-August,” Koory noted. “Contracting activity remained generally subdued as spot contracts seem to be stalled ahead of harvest. Forward contracts for fourth-quarter delivery are running at a $1-per-bushel discount to the contracts formed over July and August. Thus far corn yields in key organic corn producing states are generally positive, suggesting post-harvest supplies will apply some bearish pressure to prices over the last part of 2018. Mercaris is in the process of finalizing its 2018 organic and non-GMO acreage forecast, which will provide a more complete perspective of U.S. organic corn supplies.”

Organic food-grade soybean prices edged up 2¢ to $21.96 per bushel in the July-August period, up 45¢ from March-April and up $1.36 from a year ago.

“Organic soybeans remained close to $22 per bushel over July-August,” Koory said. “Like corn, forward contracts for fourth-quarter delivery are running at a discount to spot contracts, down about $2 per bushel. With soybean harvest around the corner, spot contracting activity is expected to pick up, and with yields expected to be higher year-over-year, buyers may want to watch for purchasing opportunities.”

In its September Market Update, Mercaris urged U.S. grain importers to continue to watch imports.

“It appears ships from Romania routinely deliver more organic corn to the U.S. than actually originate from Romania (per official trade statistics),” the Mercaris report said. “Recently, Mercaris Maritime Imports Report (MIR) data showed a substantial spike in Romanian export activity. Over June and July, 25,700 tonnes of organic corn arrived in the U.S. from Romania, of which only 1,400 tonnes were produced in Romania. The jump in export activity can be attributed to Serbia’s emergence as a major source of U.S. organic corn imports.

“Using MIR to look at more recent imports, it appears another large shipment arrived in the U.S. from Romania in August. Whether or not this batch of organic corn originated from Serbia has yet to be determined.”

In other organic news, the Organic Trade Association on Sept. 6 said it was moving ahead with a voluntary, industry-invested organic research, promotion and education check-off program. The U.S. Department of Agriculture in May ended the process for a proposed nationwide federal organic check-off program.

The OTA has formed a steering committee, a governance subcommittee and an immediate programming subcommittee. A comment period seeking input on how to maximize participation in the voluntary program and how to prioritize investments will be held this fall.

Mercaris is a comprehensive source of market data and online trading for feed-grade and food-grade organic and non-GMO commodities based in Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S. For more information visit www.mercaris.com.