KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, U.S. — Prices for organic food-grade hard red spring wheat, hard red winter wheat and durum in the February-March period advanced from quoted prior reporting periods and from year-ago levels, as did organic soybean values, according to Mercaris, the organic and non-GMO trading platform and market information company.

Prices for food-grade organic hard red spring wheat averaged $20.62 per bushel in the February-March period, up $6.96 per bushel from October-November but with no comparable quotes for December-January or a year earlier.

“Organic hard red spring wheat contracting increased in March, with prices moving higher,” said Ryan Koory, senior economist, Mercaris. “Overall, spring wheat marketing has been slow since the start of 2019 with prices remaining mostly even to below year-ago levels. However, spring has brought a renewed interest in wheat purchasing. The activity may slow as the winter wheat crop begins to take shape. Over the next couple of months, it appears wheat buyers are looking to lock in whatever supplies might be left sitting around.”

Hard red winter wheat averaged $14.51 per bushel in February-March, up $1.99 per bushel from December-January and up 94¢ from $13.57 per bushel a year ago.

“Organic hard red winter wheat purchasing and prices remained steady through March, with the delivered price holding its premium over last year at $14.51 per bushel,” Koory said. “Now that April is under way, farmers are getting their first real look at the 2019 winter wheat crop. Although it is still too early to get any real sense of crop conditions, with ample amounts of wet and cold conditions across the United States this past winter, both buyers and sellers are likely waiting for the first signs of crop damage. For the remainder of quarter two, the risk of price volatility is likely to increase as both sides of the market move to cover their needs over the coming marketing year.”

Food-grade organic durum wheat averaged $20.75 per bushel in February-March, up $4.82 per bushel from October-November and up from $17.41 per bushel a year earlier, with no comparable quote for the December-January period.

“Organic durum wheat contracting increased at the end of the first quarter, pulling prices higher along the way,” Koory said. “Over the two-month period ended March 31, 2019, the delivered price for organic food-grade durum wheat averaged $20.75 per bushel, up more than $3 per bushel from the prior year.”

Prices for food-grade, organic soft red winter wheat and corn were not quoted for the February-March period.

“Organic corn remained sluggish at the end of quarter one, with March monthly contracted volumes even with the prior month, and trades too few to generate a price quote,” Koory said. “The feed-grade side of the organic corn market has held mostly sideways since the start of the 2018-19 marketing year as import volumes have increased from the prior marketing year, limiting any possibility of bullish market support. Typically, later winter and early spring bring an increase in market activity, along with price volatility. So far, 2018-19 has not brought this for the organic corn market, and with feed-grade markets displaying notable stability, this year quarter two is shaping up to be uneventful from a marketing perspective.”

Organic food-grade soybean prices in February-March posted strong gains from the prior two two-month periods and from a year ago.

“Organic soybeans continued to move higher at the close of quarter one, with the delivered price for organic food-grade soybeans averaging $23.55 per bushel over the two-month period ended March 31, 2019,” Koory said. “This marks the first time since quarter three 2018 that food-grade organic soybean prices exceeded year-ago levels. Previously, Mercaris indicated that the U.S. organic soybean market appeared generally bearish overall, with increases in both domestic and foreign supplies over the 2018-19 marketing year. However, the market for food-grade organic soybeans appears to have found support regardless.”

Last month Koory noted that it was not uncommon for soybean prices to find bullish support as winter comes to an end.

Kellee James, founder and chief executive officer of Mercaris, will make a presentation on the state of the organic market at the 2019 Sosland Publishing Company’s annual Purchasing Seminar June 9-11 in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

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.