KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI, U.S. — Prices for organic food-grade hard red winter wheat, durum and soybeans during the April-May period declined from February-March with wheat prices also down from a year ago, according to Mercaris, the organic and non-GMO trading platform and market information company.

Hard red winter wheat averaged $9.50 per bushel in April-May, down $5.01 from February-March, down $3.02 from December January and down $1.53 from April-May 2018.

“Organic hard red winter wheat prices continued falling in May, with the delivered organic food grade price averaging $9.50 per bushel for the two-month period ending May 31,” said Ryan Koory, senior economist at Mercaris. “The recent decline in delivered prices may be the first indication that this year’s crop is indeed large and in good shape.

“Overall the U.S. winter wheat crop appears to be in good condition. Based on data from USDA, Mercaris estimates the share of the U.S. organic winter wheat crop rated in good-to-excellent condition reached 69% the week ending June 3, up from 53% last year.”

Mercaris will release its 2019 Organic and Non-GMO Acreage Report in the middle of the third quarter, at which time a better evaluation of the organic winter wheat crop can be made, Koory said.

Food-grade organic durum averaged $15.75 per bushel in April-May, down $3.60 from February-March and down $2.32 from a year earlier.

“Organic durum wheat prices pulled sharply lower in May following a decline in contracting activity,” Koory said. “Durum wheat prices may be feeling pressure as buyers are likely more focused on assessing the winter wheat crop at the moment, rather than securing durum contracts. However, organic spring wheat planting appears to be nearly complete, with farmers over the month of May quickly making up for the season’s slow start. Purchasers are likely to soon turn their focus back to the spring wheat crop.”

There was insufficient trade during the latest period to generate quotes for either hard red spring wheat or soft red winter wheat. Organic hard red spring was quoted at $20.62 per bushel last month for the March-April period. Soft red winter was last quoted at $9.66 per bushel in October 2018 for August-September. A year ago, hard red spring averaged $16.62 per bushel and soft red winter averaged $10.92 per bushel.

Organic food-grade soybean prices in April-May averaged $21.78 per bushel, down $1.67 from February-March but up $2.02 from December-January and up 49¢ from April-May 2018.

 “Organic soybeans are pulling back from their bullish second-quarter start but are holding onto their premium over year-ago levels,” Koory said. “In general, the market remains precariously placed between the havoc this unprecedented wet spring has created for farm operators, and the questionable impact of the USDA’s May decision to suspend the organic certification authority of the Control Union Certifications Turkey office (CUC–Turkey). While weather remains a mixed bag in terms of what it will mean for the U.S. organic soybean crop, the ramifications of the CUC-Turkey decision look to be less significant as imports from the Black Sea region (the region impacted by this development) continue to diminish in importance.”

Mercaris noted a shift from imports of organic food and feed grade soybeans to organic soybean meal. Organic soybean imports “slowed to a mere crawl” in May at 4,800 tonnes, the lowest since November 2011, with shipments arriving only from India and Canada, the company said.

“Although May imports appear to be an extreme case, the month actually only highlights a trend that has built over the past two years with U.S. buyers expressing a preference for organic soybean meal imports over whole soybeans,” Mercaris said in its June 11 Market Update. May soybean meal imports of about 31,000 tonnes were down 20% from April but were up 137% from May 2018 and the third highest on record.

Meanwhile, sluggish second-quarter organic corn trade resulted in insufficient contracted volume to generate an April-May price quote, Koory said. Organic corn averaged $10.61 a bushel a year ago.

“Looking to quarter three, Mercaris will be releasing its 2019 Organic and Non-GMO Acreage Report, providing the first glimpse of what impact the flood is expected to have on U.S. organic soybean supplies,” Koory said. “Additionally, Mercaris will be keeping a keen eye on organic corn and soybean contracting for signs of supply certainty and price direction ahead of the fall harvest.”

Organic broiler slaughter in May was estimated at 4.7 million birds, up 7% from April and up 9% from May 2018 after several months of decline from year-ago levels, Mercaris reported. January-May slaughter was estimated at 22.4 million birds, about even with the same period a year earlier.

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.