www.OntarioGrainFarmer.ca Publ ished by OUTLOOK DECEMBER 2022/JANUARY 2023 Planning ahead KEEP CALM IN TURBULENT TIMES 172023 ANNUAL DISTRICT MEETINGS Check here for dates and times.
To learn more and to apply to participate in the program, go to www.gfo.ca/about/grains-in-action or contact Rachel Telford, manager, Member Relations, at 226-979-5581 or email@example.com. Participants will be confirmed in early January 2023. Grains in Action is a three-day program for young farmers to gain knowledge about the end uses of the grains they grow. Participants also learn about the role of Grain Farmers of Ontario within the grain industry and how they can become active members of the organization. It is an opportunity for new experiences, building relationships, and professional growth. Who should attend? Young farmers who have just finished university or are nearing the end of their studies, with the intent of working on the farm; or those who have been working onfarm for a couple of years and are looking to learn more about the grain industry and Grain Farmers of Ontario. We target those aged 22 – 30, but welcome those within a few years of this bracket to apply to participate. What does the program include?Grains in Action is a tour-based programwith stops that highlight the different aspects of the grain value chain. These typically include a research facility, a distillery, food or feed processor, and an exporter. The 2023 agenda is still being finalized. The course also includes discussions with Grain Farmers of Ontario staff about the work our organization does on behalf of farmer-members, including Agronomy, Communications, Government Relations, Market Development, and Research. February 13 - 15, 2023 2023 Grains in Action Grain Farmers of Ontario
6 ON THE COVER Planning ahead Jeff Robinson KEEP CALM IN TURBULENT TIMES From the CEO’s desk LOOKING AHEAD 4 The year of extremes Laura Ferrier 10 Consider your options Philip Shaw 12 Business side Conversations with business experts 9 GrainTALK newsletter An update on Grain Farmers of Ontario news and events 16 Demand for Canadian soybeans Nicole Mackellar 14 Crop side Agronomic information from crop specialists 23 Talking about fertilizer Debra Conlon 18 U.S. grain and oilseed industry Jeanine Moyer 20 Farming in a war zone Melanie Epp 24 Leadership generation Rachel Telford 26 Good in Every Grain Updates on our campaign 30 DECEMBER 2022 / JANUARY 2023 volume 14, number 3 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMERis published 9 times a year (December/January, February, March, April/May, June/July, August, September, October, and November) through Grain Farmers of Ontario. Distribution is to all Ontario barley, corn, oat, soybean, and wheat farmer-members. Associate Membership Subscription available upon request. Views and opinions expressed in this magazine are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the policies of Grain Farmers of Ontario. Seek professional advice before undertaking any recommendations or suggestions presented in this magazine. PUBLICATIONS MAIL AGREEMENT NO. 40065283. Return undeliverable items to Grain Farmers of Ontario, 679 Southgate Drive, Guelph, ON N1G 4S2. © Grain Farmers of Ontario all rights reserved. Publisher: Grain Farmers of Ontario, Phone: 1-800-265-0550, Website: www.gfo.ca; Managing Editor: Mary Feldskov; Production Co-ordinator: Kim Ratz; Advertising Sales: Joanne Tichborne 172023 ANNUAL DISTRICT MEETINGS CHECK HERE FOR DATES AND TIMES Advancing education in agriculture Rebecca Hannam 28
Looking ahead to January, the annual District Meetings will be held in person this year, returning to a traditional format that allows farmer-members to gather to hear about the progress we are making on important issues and share their ideas. We will also be electing directors and delegates at these meetings, and I encourage you to attend and consider putting your name forward as a delegate. On behalf of all of us at Grain Farmers of Ontario, I want to wish you all a Happy Holidays and a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year. l 4 WHEN THE CALENDARturns the page to a new year on January 1, we tend to look ahead with a little bit of optimism and anticipation for what the next 12 months will bring us — with hopes that the coming year will be better than the last. This begs the question — what will 2023 bring for Ontario's grain farmers and Grain Farmers of Ontario? There is no doubt that 2022 has been challenging on many fronts. Looking back, the evening news headlines, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, fertilizer shortages, tariffs, rising costs, supply chain disruptions, inflation, wild weather, and more, have all had a significant impact on our farmer-members and their businesses. Looking ahead to 2023, most of these issues will still be concerning for the agricultural industry. The Board and staff at Grain Farmers of Ontario will continue to advocate for farmer-members to help mitigate their impacts. But despite these challenges, there are still lots of reasons to be optimistic. The crops our farmer-members grow — barley, corn, oats, soybeans, wheat — continue to see growing demand, domestically and internationally. Established markets and new and emerging uses for Ontario grains and oilseeds in plant-based food products, renewable energy, and growing international markets in Asia mean that the demand for Ontario grains has never been greater. And we have built a reputation for innovation, quality, and sustainability, positioning Ontario as a reliable source of grains and oilseeds to meet that exploding demand. After more than two years of Covid-19 travel restrictions, we are excited to be able to travel internationally again. We are looking forward to connecting with trade partners, existing customers, and prospective new markets on international trade missions in the early new year. Here at home, there are still lots of concerns about fertilizer — the availability, the cost, and the impacts of tariffs on Russian products. Looking ahead to 2023, there is still a lot of uncertainty and questions about how these issues will impact the upcoming growing season. For the Board and staff at Grain Farmers of Ontario, finding solutions to these issues will continue to be a priority. We will continue to build on our government lobbying and advocacy efforts that ramped up in 2022, with hopes that in 2023, we will find a resolution that benefits our farmer-members. At the grassroots level, you can help move the needle on that agenda – we encourage you to pick up the phone and call your Member of Parliament to express your concerns and tell them what is on your mind. Together, we can continue to keep this issue front-and-centre on Parliament Hill. From the CEO’s desk Crosby Devitt, CEO, Grain Farmers of Ontario Looking ahead
ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 5 Cultivating New Tomorrows DECEMBER 2022 / JANUARY 2023 For more information, including agenda details, how to register, and speaker line-up, please visit: https://gfo.ca/about/march-classic-2023/ 2023 March Classic - Cultivating New Tomorrows Mark your calendars! When you grow the food that feeds the world, you know the value of trying new ideas and embracing new opportunities. Grain farmers are always looking to tomorrow to see how the world is changing and what it will mean for their farms, their families and their communities. What new technology will be available and how will it help grow the best, most abundant amount of food for the world? What new regulations are potentially coming? How will we work with government to ensure food security and to ensure farmers ability to keep their family farms running for generations to come? How will we help new farmers enter into the fields? What upcoming food trends represent new opportunities for grains and how do we work with consumers to give them what they need and want? Every season, grain farmers are cultivating these new tomorrows. Join us for the 2023 March Classic at RBC Place in London. 2023 March Classic March 21, 2023 Grain Farmers of Ontario
Cover story 6 IN THESE DAYSof volatile markets, the best thing Ontario grain growers can do for the foreseeable future is to keep calm and have a plan. Global disruptions like the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Covid-19, heightened political tensions among powerful nations, and wild weather patterns causing drought, massive fires, and floods have changed the way we move grain around the world. Fertilizer vessels coming from Russia to North America that, in the past, would have emptied here and picked up grain to go back to Europe are no longer doing that. As a result of the imposition of general tariffs on Russian goods, buyers were obtaining fertilizer from elsewhere, so those vessels were returning to ports other than Europe. Before 2022, we were used to a smooth routine when fertilizers, grains, and other bulk producers were tied together in an efficient supply operation. When that operation was disrupted this spring, the efficiencies we counted on were lost almost overnight. For example, we have seen fewer wheat vessels moving in Ontario, something that will likely persist into 2023. We have been fortunate in this province as a net exporter of grain. Nearly 30 per cent of all grain grown in Ontario is exported, with more than half the soybeans we grow going to other places. But having a surplus also puts us at risk if there are disruptions because it has to go somewhere or it gets stuck. In general, global demand has been fantastic, and for farmers, it has never really felt like it is difficult to sell products. Ontario has had a good run for a few decades of grain movement — from the farm to the end user. Normally, vessels are waiting in ports for loaded trucks from the combines, and this year, it could be the other way around, with trucks waiting for vessels to arrive. Back in the 1990s, there were corn piles in Hamilton, Jonestown and other areas. At the time of writing in late September, the situation might not get to that point, but some elevators may get full this harvest, and we could be facing problems we have not seen for 30 years. Transportation is more of an issue than anything. Even getting adequate trucking is tricky, with the availability of vehicles and costs. The best way forward is to ensure that you plan a bit further ahead in terms of grain inventories and harvest. Talk to your buyer. Some elevators can take the surplus, and sometimes the end of harvest can be delayed. While it is hard to deal with the unpredictability of the weather, it is better to have a plan in place and tweak it if you encounter bigger problems. PRICING Planning is also a great idea in terms of the extreme volatility of grain prices just now. The global upheavals that have disrupted transportation supply chains are also affecting prices. When the market is up 50 or 70 cents in the morning and down in the afternoon, it is hard to react quickly. There have many days where we have seen a 30-cent swing in the price of corn and 50 to 70-cent swings in beans and wheat. It is better to think ahead of time about what price you need or can live with, put it in a plan and communicate the plan to your buyer. Most buyers will enter price targets above the market, so the sale is automatically made once the target is reached. That way, you are not constantly watching prices go up and down every day when you could be working more productively on your farm. It is better for your mental health, too. Planning ahead KEEP CALM IN TURBULENT TIMES Jeff Robinson continued on page 8 • Having a plan for marketing grain is more important than ever. • Global events including the Russian invasion of Ukraine and wild weather patterns causing drought, massive fires, and floods have changed how grain is moved around the world. • While demand for Ontario grain remains high, disruptions in the shipping industry means that shipping options may be limited. • Prices are volatile due to the same global events that have disrupted transportation supply chains. • Planning ahead, and communicating the plan to your buyer, can help mitigate the price fluctuations. • Long-term, Canada is well-positioned to adapt to new markets for grains products. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 7 DECEMBER 2022 / JANUARY 2023 NEARLY 30 PER CENT OF ALL GRAIN GROWN IN ONTARIO IS EXPORTED.
Plans can still be changed if there is good information that you should change them. You can check in bi-weekly or monthly to see that you are still on track and adjust it if needed. It is far better to avoid taking the daily price rollercoaster ride. It can be difficult to let someone else take control of the sale of the crop. But as long as you are the one determining the price targets and the amount you are selling, all that you are really handing over to the 8 buyer is the execution of the sale. But there is a word of caution, of course: once the price target is hit, it can not be adjusted. That is why selling portions of your harvest over time can also minimize the risks. For example, you could have planned price targets of $18, $19 and $20 for beans. NOT ALL DOOM AND GLOOM Global supply chains are shifting and changing, with many countries looking to safe, stable nations to provide goods — like Canada. The current situation could, eventually, provide newmarkets for our country and our farmers. Over the short term, however, planning ahead is key. Plan for potential disruptions in the movement of grain and plan for price volatility so you are not living minute-by-minute with the ups and downs of the market. Jeff Robinson is a grain merchandiser at Woodrill Farms Ltd. l continued from page 6
9 (J.M.) WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU OFFER FARM EMPLOYERS TO HELP IMPROVE EMPLOYEE RETENTION? (J.R.) Agriculture has long suffered a negative reputation for hard work, low pay, and long hours with little reward. Our industry is working hard to change that image and attract job seekers to the vast career opportunities agriculture offers on and off the farm. Beyond competitive wages, there are many ways farm employers can create a fulfilling and rewarding work environment. Employee benefits are one way to achieve this. Employees can receive two kinds of benefits: statutory benefits and optional benefits. Statutory benefits are required by the federal government to assist Canadians when they can no longer work due to illness, unemployment, or retirement. Optional employee benefits are those employers choose to offer to attract and retain workers more effectively and become employers of choice. As a farm employer, you can provide optional benefits to workers based on their job duties, seniority level, and the needs of your business. Many employers offer these benefits to full-time workers as part of a competitive benefits package. For more information, the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council's AgriHR Toolkit (www.cahrc-ccrha.ca) offers information on the types of benefits employers offer and legislated requirements on statutory benefits. WHAT TYPES OF EMPLOYEE BENEFITS DO YOU RECOMMEND TO FARM EMPLOYERS? Here is a summary of popular optional employee benefits: Health plans generally cover a portion of pharmaceutical drugs and treatments not covered by provincial/territorial health care systems. Dental plans cover a portion of dental costs, such as regular cleanings and/or dental procedures (i.e. surgery or orthodontics). Life insurance plans commonly provide coverage in an amount equal to a worker's annual salary in case of death. Accidental death and dismemberment plans provide a benefit in case of accidents. They also cover loss of bodily appendages or loss of vision due to an accident. Short and/or long-term disability plans cover the required time off work in case of an accident. Employee Assistance Programsprovide confidential assistance to your workers on various issues, including financial advice, counselling and therapy, legal recommendations, child care, addictions, and work-life balance. Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) matching or contribution programs are provided by some employers to help workers save for retirement. It is up to you as an employer to choose an appropriate benefit plan, and I recommend employers make sure the package you offer is competitive. Benefit providers can also counsel you on what plans are right for your business. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MOST POPULAR BENEFITS EMPLOYEES ARE LOOKING FOR? The optional employee benefits I listed are important to most employees and their families. Other popular monetary benefits include vision coverage and bonus structures. When it comes to retention, it's not always about money. There are many things a business can offer that can help attract and retain workers. These are considered perks or non-monetary benefits that hold a lot of value to the employees. These perks also provide employers with the flexibility to provide additional benefits based on the worker's performance, length of time with the company, etc. Some examples of unique or popular non-monetary benefits that some Canadian farm employers have successfully implemented on their farms include team barbeques, use of a company vehicle, gymmemberships, food shares (a share of fresh produce or meat), flexible hours, daycare, living accommodations, company apparel, training (First Aid, CPR, equipment operation, etc.), and daily suppers during harvest. Jeanine Moyer Jade Reeve, AgriJobs and AgriSkills Program Manager, Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council; www.cahrc-ccrha.ca Retention and benefits BUSINESS SIDE WITH... Business side ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 9 DECEMBER 2022 / JANUARY 2023 For more on farm employee retention and benefits, visit us online.
10 THE 2022 GROWINGseason was one for the record books. Overall, spectacular winter wheat yields were seen province-wide. However, a significant drought in some areas greatly impacted corn and soybean yields. It has been a challenging year in more ways than one — drought in one area, extreme moisture in another, high fertilizer prices, fuel prices, labour costs, parts, the list could go on. And, as many who make farming their profession know, the year is not over until the crop is in the bin and the tractor is in the shed. SPRING A wet fall season that delayed fieldwork led into a spring that started out cool and wet. However, ground was able to be worked in the spring to remedy fall errors, and by midMay, it was full steam ahead for corn and soybean planting, allowing many acres to be planted in almost ideal conditions. A lot of winter wheat went into the ground in lessthan-ideal conditions or much later than recommended, making for a tough start for the crop. Over the winter, there were concerns that a lot of acres might be terminated in the spring, but March was kinder than expected. The end of May saw heavy rains and strong winds as a derecho moved across the province. A saving grace was that corn plants were just emerging and not at the end of the season when massive crop destruction has occurred in other regions of the continent. With heavy rains, planting began to drag into June, and later planted crops went into tougher planting conditions. There was a significant staging difference between the early and later planted crops; some corn was at V2 to V4, whereas other fields were just emerging. The same could be said for soybeans, with some beans just emerging after planting while others were at the first to second trifoliate as spring progressed. Northern Ontario went from a drought in 2021 to incredible amounts of excess moisture hindering planting. Spring seeding dates were extended, and farmers planted crops however they could. Insect pressures were present with cutworm and wireworm affecting stands. Bean leaf beetle pressure was seen particularly on early emerging stands, serving as a good reminder to rotate crops, as many showed up in second-year soybeans. SUMMER There was very little moisture to spare as the summer season arrived, with an early season drought. Many areas saw little to no rain for roughly five weeks or more. Heavily affected areas were those with little water-holding capacity, like sand, clay, and shallow soils. Overall, there were many uneven crops and high variability across the province due to many areas missing crucial rain showers. Corn pollination occurred during hot, dry conditions. Areas already struggling with limited moisture had poor pollination and poor kernel development, with plants aborting kernels early, resulting in smaller cobs. With little moisture, insect pressure continued. Two-spotted spider mites were common in areas and found at high levels. Soybean aphids also appeared in the province; in eastern Ontario, there were very high populations. Winter wheat harvest went off without a hitch, as dry weather allowed for good quality wheat at harvest. Many were lucky that the grain fill period did see some relief from hot temperatures, and there was moisture in the ground leading to exceptional yields, with many reporting the highest yields ever seen. After harvest, a gamble was taken on many acres, and cover crops were planted with The year of extremes A LOOK BACK AT 2022 Laura Ferrier hopes that some moisture would germinate the seed. It paid off, with many fields having spectacular-looking cover crops by the fall. Oat and barley yields were average across much of the province. Northern Ontario, with later planted fields, saw harvest stretch out, late summer/fall rains slowed harvest, and some fields were still being combined as fall arrived. FALL One clear bonus of low moisture meant less disease was found in the fields as the year progressed. As fall approached, there was very little concern about white mould in soybeans. Gibberella ear rot and other corn diseases, such as Northern corn leaf blight and tar spot, were found but never were a huge concern. Both Gibberella and tar spot are two diseases of concern for the province. Gibberella ear rot can produce the toxin DON, causing feeding issues to humans and livestock. Ideal conditions for development are 27 to 28 °C, with humid, rainy days during pollination. Tar spot was identified in the province in mid-July, similar to last year. However, with the lack of moisture this year and the environment not conducive to its spread, it remained at low levels. Tar spot can develop when temperatures are between 15 and 21 °C and high relative humidity for seven or more hours. Saturated soils and leaf wetness can also contribute to the spread. Both diseases will need to be monitored and managed in the coming years — the environment determines a lot, and traditionally, eastern Canada experiences high heat and high humidity that can cause disease to flourish. Following the soybean harvest, many growers reported average to well below-average yields. Eastern Ontario ended up with more moisture than much of the western portion of the province and produced decent yields. Agronomy
Corn harvest will be similar, showcasing the tale of drought and how drastically moisture can impact pollination and yield. GOING FORWARD Every area had its own story to tell this year. It is important to realize what attributed to yield (high or low); was it management or weather? If it was management, consider what could be done better, what risks can be mitigated, and what worked well and should be replicated next year. If fields have a history of disease and insect pressure — manage it! Choose varieties/ hybrids that are good at handling the disease and insect pressure and plan out the management decisions that will help optimize yield well before heading to the field. Of course, there are always changes, but a solid plan from the start helps if it becomes chaotic in the growing season. For weeds, remember to rotate modes of action. A two-pass glyphosate program will not last for years to come. Be aware of resistant weeds in fields, and be sure to take steps to control them. Look at alternative controls, such as cover crops, to help manage weeds. Control of perennial weeds in the fall takes some of the pressure off in the spring. Be sure to manage off-target movement; it is critical when using volatile products such as dicamba on green canopies. Take preventative measures to know what crops are surrounding fields and make sure nozzle selection, pressure, water volume, etc., will make sure the product gets to its target. Overall, think of the “what-ifs” and plan for them. Laura Ferrier is an agronomist for Grain Farmers of Ontario. l ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 11 DECEMBER 2022 / JANUARY 2023 Overall, there were many uneven crops and high variability across the province due to many areas missing crucial rain showers. Farmers constantly have to tap into wells of strength. It takes strength and resilience to navigate the many challenges they face. It is also a test of strength to reach out for help when the stresses of farming become too much. Recognizing the need for help and reaching out is not easy. In addition to asking for help there are stress management techniques that can help you reduce stress. Try the one below when you are feeling overwhelmed. This technique will help you feel calm and allow you to think clearly. For a list of stress management techniques, visit www.gfo.ca/farmerwellness/. Farmer wellness first Grain Farmers of Ontario Farmer Wellness Guide: www.gfo.ca/farmerwellness/support-resources/ Farmer Wellness Initiative: 1-866-267-6255, available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Learn more at: www.farmerwellnessinitiative.ca The Business of Better Sleep Farming is both physical and mental. Getting a good night’s sleep can lead to better thinking, decision-making and a quicker response — elevating productivity and keeping you safe on the farm. A few ways to improve your sleep: • Put away your devices. (phone, laptop, iPad) at least 30 minutes before bed • Make where you sleep your haven. Keep your bedroom cool, dark, and quiet while sleeping • Get active during the day. Walking around your farm for 30 minutes daily at a comfortable pace is a great and simple way to get your blood circulating. • Lower alcohol and caffeine at night. Avoiding stimulants can leave you feeling sleepy faster. • Unpack your day. Take a moment during the evening to reflect on your day. Thenimagine closing it like a book while taking three deep breathsin and out.
12 IT HAS BEENa tumultuous year for corn markets around the world and looking into 2023, it looks like more of the same. The Russian invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022 changed the paradigm in agricultural markets sending us to price levels that were hard to imagine in corn, soybeans, and wheat. As we look ahead into 2023, Ontario corn growers will certainly be considering their options on how that crop mix might look going forward. In a world where volatility is to be expected, Ontario corn growers will have to gauge every acre. It will be that way partly because of the high cost of growing corn going into 2023. Ontario corn growers have the recent memory of doubling nitrogen prices, with tariff costs added on this past spring. That added a couple of hundred dollars per acre onto corn production costs, which surely had some growers thinking about switching to soybeans. As we go into 2023, there will hopefully be some relief from that, especially the tariff part. However, as we look ahead, we are still in wartime markets, which by their very nature can be unpredictable and volatile. IMPACT OF WAR The war has affected everything, and no one knows what the future will bring. However, it helped bring $8.50 a bushel of corn off the combine last fall. Corn flirted with the $7 level for a large part of the fall. The December 2023 corn contract will be the one to watch going into the planting season. Ontario corn growers will have to consider how this price might change and what market factors might come together to foster those changes going into 2023. Some of the questions that we should consider looking at 2023 corn markets will have to do with how much corn is grown in the U.S., the largest corn producer in the world. Last year the U.S. planted approximately 88.6 million acres of corn with a total crop of approximately 13.94 billion bushels, which will be subject to change in subsequent United States Department of Agriculture crop reports. That is a lot of corn, but with futures prices as high as they are, it tells us that demand is very strong for corn, and it will continue into 2023, with each corn futures month ahead of December 2023 being in an inverse position. In other words, corn is in such demand that the market is offering premiums to take delivery of corn right up to December of 2023. As we head into 2023, those futures markets tell us that the world wants more corn and is somewhat worried about the supply. The Consider your options GLOBAL UNCERTAINTY WILL IMPACT 2023 CORN MARKETS Philip Shaw U.S. and China are the world's largest producers of corn, and other major producers of corn are Brazil, Argentina, South Africa, Russia, and Ukraine. That is one reason the war in Ukraine mattered so much: it is a major producer of corn and a historical exporter of corn. On the other hand, Egypt, the European Union, Japan, Mexico, and Southeast Asia are major importers of corn. In fact, Ontario and Quebec corn producers have benefited from preferential treatment in the European Union market. As we look ahead to 2023, geopolitical and weather events in all these countries will impact our corn prices. ONTARIO CONSIDERATIONS It is always important to remind everyone that the Ontario corn economy is diverse. For instance, the production capacity in Ontario is heavily weighted in western Ontario, but because of this, eastern Ontario and western Ontario have different cash market influences. There is a long distance between Windsor and the Quebec border, and corn grown on this stretch can find end users in several different places. In fact, in eastern Ontario, basis levels for corn are often higher than in western Ontario based on markets in Quebec as well as offshore and local livestock feeding opportunities. This should be accentuated in 2023, especially if the Ontario corn export market remains dynamic in Europe. Last year Ontario farmers grew about 2.3 million acres of corn, which is historically high and likely reaching its ceiling of available acres. Looking ahead, farmers will be considering those high fertilizer costs but also the strong prices for corn realized over last fall and this winter. It is unlikely we will have more than 2.3 million acres in 2023, but with the proper weather, we should still be in the same ballpark. Demand for Ontario corn remains strong for domestic ethanol, Marketing
feed, and residual use and exporting into the European Union. Interest rates are up in 2023, and so is the value of the U.S. dollar. However, this has had the opposite effect on the Canadian dollar, which has been fluttering at the 73 cent level in the fall of 2022. As we look into 2023, no one knows what the value of the Canadian dollar will do. There is a significant effect on the value of Ontario cash corn prices with a Canadian dollar at $0.73 versus $0.85 or $0.90 U.S. This will be something Ontario corn growers need to consider as we look into 2023. WEATHER IMPACTS PRICE At the end of the day, crop weather is always a litmus test for corn prices. Into 2023 this will not change, with July "hot and dry" during pollination being critical for U.S. and Ontario corn and corn prices. Weather nuances throughout the year will add to the uncertainty. The challenge for Ontario corn farmers in 2023 is to put all of these marketing factors together. Risk management never grows old. Daily market intelligence will be key, and 2023 will provide many marketing opportunities. Philip Shaw is a farmer near Dresden and the author of Grain Farmers of Ontario’s Market Trends Report published 14 times per year (available at www.gfo.ca/graintalk). The opinions expressed in this commentary are his own. l ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 13 DECEMBER 2022 / JANUARY 2023 As we head into 2023, those futures markets tell us that the world wants more corn and is somewhat worried about the supply. Registration Opens: November 1st, 2022 ONLINE AND IN-PERSON CONFERENCE @OAgC23 #OAgC23 www.OntarioAgConference.ca EMBRACING CHANGE Wednesday, January 4th and Thursday, January 5th, 2023 The Southwest Agricultural Conference, Midwestern Ontario Agricultural Conference and Eastern Ontario Crop Conference present...
14 GLOBAL CONFLICT AND inflation have made markets incredibly volatile in 2022. With the Russian invasion of Ukraine sending markets into chaos and many countries still recovering from the impacts of the global pandemic, commodity markets have been on a roller coaster. Despite volatility, global demand for soybeans is strong and continues to grow. Increased demand for poultry feed in the middle east, renewed interest in biofuels in the United States, and strengthened soy food consumption in Asia and West Europe are all driving soybean demand. As the world's fifth largest soybean exporter, Canada is well-positioned to help fill this growing demand for commodity and nonGMO food-grade soybeans. Our incredible growers and a world-leading value chain make us an important supplier of sustainable sources of protein and oil for a hungry world. In 2021 Canadian soybean exports were 4.4 million metric tonnes (162 million bushels), representing approximately 70 per cent of production. Once led by China and the European Union, export markets for Canadian soybeans have shifted over the past four years, with Iran now the largest single destination. With a growing poultry industry seeking costcompetitive feed options and shifting geopolitics, Canadian exports have seen significant growth to the country. CHINA'S IMPACT China is the world's largest soybean market. Recently, Chinese demand has slowed due to continued Covid-19 restrictions, slow economic growth, and a drop in pork consumption. While increased demand is anticipated for the marketing year 2022 - 2023 (September to August), import projections remain lower than volumes seen before the pandemic. Helping to offset lower demand from China is renewed interest in biofuels from the United States, Canada, and other developed countries. Leading the way is renewable diesel, a "drop-in" renewable fuel for diesel engines that can be blended at any level with fossil diesel. Seen as a green solution to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, significant investment is occurring due to government regulations that favour lowcarbon fuels and major investments by oil companies and private industry. The market potential for soybean oil as a low-carbon feedstock for renewable diesel is significant and is causing a major shift in U.S. soybean demand and an unprecedented expansion of soybean processing capacity. It is estimated that renewable diesel capacity in the United States will reach 6.5 billion annual gallons by 2030. This expansion is driving demand for vegetable oils, including soybean oil, and will change the mix of soybeans and soy products available for export from North America as more soybeans are processed in North America. Demand for Canadian soybeans REMAINING STRONG IN A VOLATILE WORLD Nicole Mackellar FOOD-GRADE SOYBEANS With the global soyfood industry projected to grow 5.6 per cent over the next three years to reach $55 billion, demand for foodgrade soybeans continues to outpace supply. For over forty years, Canada has been a global leader in producing quality, sustainable food-grade soybeans for international markets. With 1.2 million metric tonnes (44 million bushels) produced each year, virtually all of this production is exported to over twenty countries worldwide. While exports to traditional markets such as Japan remain stable, significant growth has occurred in new areas such as Indonesia, creating more demand for Canadian food-grade soybeans. JAPAN Japan continues to be an important market for Canadian food-grade soybean exports. It is the third-largest market for food-grade soybeans and the sixth-largest overall. Soy food consumption within the country has remained stable for the past decade. While some sectors have seen growth, others continue to decline as consumer diets evolve. Tofu remains the largest soy food sector within the country, with 60 per cent of total food-grade soybean usage. The sector has remained stable over the past two years, with the increase in at-home consumption balancing the losses in the hospitality and food sectors. Natto is the second largest soy food sector, making up 20 per cent of the market. It has seen a resurgence over the past two years as consumers look for food options that help keep them healthy and strong. While miso is the third largest soy food sector making up 15 per cent of the market, consumption has been on a declining trend for the past 10 years as consumers look to new products and consolidation in the industry continues over rising costs. Market Development
As the smallest soy food sector in Japan, soymilk consumption had been increasing year over year before the pandemic but has stabilized over the past two years due to consumers being at home and not visiting street markets or retail stores where soymilk was previously purchased. SOUTHEAST ASIA A quarter of the world's soy food consumption is in Southeast Asia, making it the world's largest soy food product market. Southeast Asia also represents the largest food-grade soybeans market, which has seen significant growth over the past several years. Since 2017, Canadian food-grade soybean exports have increased by 60 per cent. Leading this is exports to Indonesia which have grown from 0.005 million metric tonnes to 0.30 million metric tonnes in five years. Demand for soy food saw a sharp rise during the pandemic as consumers looked for healthy, easy-to-eat meals at home. While pandemic restrictions have been lifted in several parts of the region, a recent study by Nielsen showed that soy food consumption patterns are here to stay as consumers look to re-prioritize eating at home. This shift is attributed to the transformation in the delivery of soy food. While the move to digitization was occurring before the pandemic, the past two years have accelerated it even further. While in the past, consumers would purchase their soy food products at retail, several have switched to online delivery creating new demand opportunities for products. EUROPE While Asia continues to be the leader in soy food consumption, with 75 per cent of the market, western Europe is emerging as a new soy food hub. According to the Global Soy Food Market Overview report by the United States Soybean Export Council, the total western European soy food market has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 1.4 per cent over the past five years and is now valued at $2 billion. With a sizeable portion of consumers looking to reduce their meat consumption and adopt more flexitarian diets, consumers are turning to soy food as a high-protein alternative. While soy milk leads the market in value and volume, consumption has declined due to the emergence of other plant-based beverages, such as oat and almond. Tofu and meat alternatives have been the fastest-growing segments seeing a ten per cent and seven per cent compounded annual growth rate over the past five years. WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR CANADA? As populations, income levels, and urbanization expand worldwide, demand for sustainable feed grains and protein meals from soybeans will continue to grow. With incredible growers and a world-leading value chain, Canada is well-positioned to meet this demand with sustainable sources of protein and oil for a hungry world. Nicole Mackellar is the market development manager for Soy Canada. l ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER 15 DECEMBER 2022 / JANUARY 2023 Despite volatility, global demand for soybeans is strong and continues to grow. MOST OUT OF YOURS SO YOU GET THE WE PUT THE WORK IN OUR FIELDS De Dell Seeds The Leaders in Non-GMO Corn De Dell Seeds • 7095 Century Drive • Melbourne, ON • N0L 1T0 P: 519-264-CORN (2676) • F: 519-264-2672 firstname.lastname@example.org • www.dedellseeds.com Our breeding is done the traditional way, in the field, in an effort to bring you the best possible results on your farm. That is why we are The Leaders in Non-GMO Seed Corn. For more on exports to Indonesia visit us online:
16 An update on Grain Farmers of Ontario news and events ONTARIO AGRICULTURAL CONFERENCE Registration is now open for the 2023 Ontario Agricultural Conference on January 4 and 5. This year’s conference is a hybrid event that brings together the Southwest Agricultural Conference, the Eastern Ontario Crop Conference, and Heartland and Golden Horseshoe Soil and Crop Improvement Associations. Registrants can choose to gather at one of three live, in-person events held in Ridgetown, Waterloo, or Kemptville or to tune in remotely from home. All registrants will have access to more than 40 pre-recorded sessions until March 31, 2023. More information and registration details are available at www.ontarioagconference.ca. Grain Farmers of Ontario is pleased to support the 2023 Ontario Agricultural Conference as a Diamond Level sponsor. PARTICIPATE IN THE GREAT LAKES YEN PROJECT Registration is now open for the 2023 Great Lakes Yield Enhancement Network (YEN). The Great Lakes YEN is a ground-breaking, cross-border collaboration that connects farmers with agronomists, academics, extension specialists, agricultural organizations, and more. Participants are asked to submit agronomic and field management data, soil and tissue samples, grain and straw samples, and yield and harvest data. YEN partners will provide data analysis of actual yield, crop inputs and lab results, crop modelling of the yield potential for each participant’s field, and a comparison of actual yield vs. yield potential and benchmarking of all participants. Participants will receive a detailed report summarizing a field’s performance and how it compares to the top 10 per cent of highyielding participants, insight into factors contributing to high-yield wheat, and an invitation to the year-end networking event with other participants, agronomists, and extension staff to discuss learnings from the year. Visit www.GreatLakesYEN.com/how-toparticipate/ to find out more and to sign up. CONSUMER OUTREACH AND PUBLIC TRUST Grain Farmers of Ontario spent some time on the road with our partners at Farm and Food Care Ontario in October to help further the conversation about food and farming with consumers and stakeholders. The sponsorship of bus tours for Registered Dieticians and culinary students from Fleming College to Ontario Grain farms provided an opportunity to showcase how farmermembers are growing safe, nutritious, and environmentally sustainable grains and oilseeds that end up on Canadian’s dinner plates. Grain Farmers of Ontario also participated in the final Breakfast from the Farm event, held at the Milton Fairgrounds on October 8. MARKET COMMENTARY by Philip Shaw In the October 12 United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, U.S. domestic corn production was cut by 49 million bushels to 13.895 billion bushels after cutting yield 0.6 bushels per acre to 171.9 bushels per acre. This U.S. corn production number of 13.895 billion bushels was a three-year low for U.S. corn production. At the same time, the USDA lowered U.S. domestic soybean yield by 0.7 bushels per acre to 49.8 bushels per acre. This put domestic production at 4.313 billion bushels. It will take some China buying and South American weather issues to help boost grain futures prices. In Ontario, open fall weather has contributed to good harvest progress. Also, a Canadian dollar dropping three cents into the 72 - 73 cent U.S. level has helped sustain basis levels for grain prices. FROM THE CHAIR A Q&A with Brendan Byrne, chair of Grain Farmers of Ontario. What were your 2022 highlights, and what was your biggest lesson learned? A real highlight for me in 2022 was the March Classic. There was so much uncertainty about in-person events at that time, and we stayed strong and went forward with our plan. It was an outstanding event for the industry and our farmer-members. Some other highlights were our federal reception with all parties represented and being able to present at the International Oilseeds Producers Dialogue. I learned this year that life throws us curveballs, and our response to COVID-19 and other unforeseen events or crises in the past year, as things shifted constantly, was remarkable. We were flexible in how we met those challenges, and we got the work done. I am very proud to have been chair during this time and to see the effort of the Board and staff to make sure Grain Farmers of Ontario remained an industry leader. • Do you have a question for our chair? Email GrainTALK@gfo.ca.
17 ONTARIO GRAIN FARMER DECEMBER 2022 / JANUARY 2023 NOTICE OF 2023 ANNUAL DISTRICT MEETINGS DISTRICT DATE TIME LOCATION / DISTRICT DIRECTOR DISTRICT 1 Essex Jan 13 9 a.m. St. John’s Parish Hall County Road 46, Woodslee, ON Director: Brendan Byrne DISTRICT 2 Kent Jan 17 3 p.m. Hidden Hills Golf and Country Club 25393 St. Clair Road, Dover Centre, ON - dinner provided Director: Gus Ternoey Speaker: Hugh Loomens, CEO of Sylvite DISTRICT 3 Lambton Jan 19 4 p.m. (registration: 3:45 p.m.) Wyoming Fair Grounds 595 Main Street, Wyoming, ON - dinner provided Director: Emery Huszka Speaker: Spirits Canada DISTRICT 4 Middlesex Jan 16 9 a.m. Coldstream Community Centre 10227 Ilderton Road, Ilderton, ON Director: Steve Twynstra DISTRICT 5 Elgin, Norfolk Jan 18 9 a.m. Malahide Community Place 12105 Whittaker Road, Springfield, ON Director: Scott Persall DISTRICT 6 Haldimand, Brant, Hamilton, Niagara Jan 10 9 a.m. (registration: 8:30 a.m.) Mutual Room, Riverside Exhibition Centre (Caledonia Fairgrounds) 151 Caithness Street E, Caledonia, ON - lunch provided Director: Jeff Barlow DISTRICT 7 Waterloo, Oxford Jan 16 9 a.m. Innerkip Community Centre 695566 17th Line, Innerkip, ON Director: Kevin Armstrong Speaker: Spirits Canada DISTRICT 8 Huron Jan 12 9 a.m. Holmesville Community Centre 180 Community Centre Road, Clinton, ON Director: Keith Black DISTRICT 9 Perth Jan 20 5:30 p.m. Mitchell Golf and Country Club 81 Frances Street, Mitchell, ON - dinner provided Director: Josh Boersen Speaker: Spirits Canada DISTRICT 10 Grey, Bruce, Wellington Jan 20 9:30 a.m. Clifford Community Hall 2 William Street, Clifford, ON - lunch provided Director: Steve Lake DISTRICT 11 Dufferin, Simcoe, Halton, Peel, York Jan 9 10 a.m. (registration: 9:30 a.m.) St. John’s United Church 27 Yonge Street, Elmvale, ON - farmers lunch/pie provided Director: Leo Blydorp Speaker: Stephen Denys, Maizex DISTRICT 12 Durham, Northumberland, Kawartha, Peterborough, Hastings Jan 10 9:30 a.m. The Best Western Plus 930 Burnham Street, Cobourg, ON Director: Jeff Harrison DISTRICT 13 Prince Edward, Lennox, Addington, Frontenac, Lanark, Leeds, Grenville, Renfrew, Ottawa Jan 11 10 a.m. (coffee: 9:30 a.m.) Elgin Lions Club 19 Pineview Drive, Elgin, ON - hot lunch/pie provided Director: Lloyd Crowe Speaker: Donna and Peter Archer DISTRICT 14 Prescott, Russell, Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry Jan 12 9 a.m. North Stormont Place 16299 Fairview Drive, Avonmore, ON - lunch provided Director: Scott Fife Speaker: Spirits Canada DISTRICT 15 Northern Ontario Jan 19 9 a.m. Earlton Conference Center, Coeur du Village 18 - 10th Street, Earlton, ON Director: Chuck Amyot The Annual District Meetings are called to elect voting delegates for the coming year. Directors will be elected in odd-numbered districts to serve a two-year term. Updates on our organization and grain industry issues are also provided at these meetings. Meetings will also have a Zoom option. Links to all meetings will be provided at www.gfo.ca and district-specificmeeting information will be sent to all farmer-members via a postcard mailer in December. All current Grain Farmers of Ontario farmer-members that attend their January District Meeting will receive a chance to win 1 of 3 tech prizes*: Grand Prize: Apple MacBook 1st Runner up prize: Apple iPad 2nd Runner up prize: Apple iPad * winners may substitute a comparable Windows or Android device 2023 ANNUAL DISTRICT MEETINGS The date and time of your district meeting has been confirmed and is listed below. Please go to www.gfo.ca for additional meeting details as they become available. Information is subject to change. NOTE: Venue location has changed
18 “FERTILIZER SHORTAGE KEEPING lobbyists busy: top issue for most-lobbied MPs." That was a Hill Times headline — Canada's top politics and government news service — this summer in an article outlining the first six months of the lobby activities in Ottawa in 2022. And the meetings haven't stopped. In September 2022, Grain Farmers of Ontario was again recognized for having the most meetings with Ottawa MPs on fertilizer. All of this lobbying activity by Grain Farmers of Ontario is in response to the actions of March 3, 2022 — when the federal government implemented a 35 per cent tariff on all Russian imports and imposed sanctions that didn't allow vessels carrying fertilizer into Canada from the region. The timing of the government's actions on fertilizer imports was more than unfortunate for grain farmers. Spring is when the St. Lawrence Seaway thaws, and fertilizer shipments begin just in time for planting. Grain farmers east of Manitoba were left scrambling because they were depending on their prepaid fertilizer deliveries to arrive. According to the survey conducted by RealAgristudies, commissioned by Grain Farmers of Ontario to get real-time data to share with the government, farmers faced increased fertilizer pricing, rationing of supplies, and tariff surcharges for the spring 2022 plant. In the end, farmers received the fertilizer needed to grow the grain for this year's crop. A combination of the delay in the planting dates, quick action by fertilizer importers who switched out shipments at the last minute, and the Canadian government's action to allow shipments into Canada all lined up just in time. But it was a close call — and a wake-up call. ONGOING CONCERNS The tariffs and sanctions imposed on March 3, 2022, was an economic blow to Ontario's farmers, and the situation remains concerning for 2023. Global fertilizer supply and pricing continue to be a concern as a series of oncein-a-life-time events that have been impacting fertilizer supply and price continue to unfold, leaving experts concerned about shortages this year and no relief until 2024. Talking about fertilizer ONGOING SUPPLY AND PRICING CHALLENGES Debra Conlon Farmers in Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada rely heavily on fertilizer imports. Approximately 700,000 tonnes of nitrogen fertilizer is imported annually, representing 85 to 90 per cent of the total nitrogen fertilizer used east of Manitoba. Grain Farmers of Ontario, the Atlantic Grains Council, the Quebec Grain Farmers, the Ontario Bean Growers, and the Christian Farmers Federation of Ontario have come together with companies and stakeholders in the fertilizer supply chain. Together this group is working to compel the federal government to take action. The group is sending a singular message: the money paid by farmers because of the tariffs needs to be compensated back to farmers, and the sanctions and tariffs on fertilizer need to be removed to ensure that the 2023 planting season is not affected. In addition to meeting with MPs, Grain Farmers of Ontario and stakeholders have engaged in an active media relations campaign, resulting in extensive coverage of the issue in major English and French media outlets. The media has greatly understood the issues and what is at stake. The Grain Farmers of Ontario Grain for Good program and advertisements on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have received a good response from Ontario consumers, who have sent almost 15,000 letters of support to the federal government. IMPACT OF FERTILIZER SHORTAGES Global food insecurity continues to rise, and Canada is well-positioned to help mitigate its impact. However, farmers need a secure, predictable supply of fertilizer to maximize crop yields. Out of concern for food production shortages, António Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, has pleaded with nations Sustainability WHAT HAS CAUSED FERTILIZER SUPPLY ISSUES? August 2020: Derecho event in the U.S. Corn belt devastating 3.57 million acres of corn and 2.5 million acres of soybeans. August 2020: Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) started to arrive and, combined with high grain prices, led to the highest-ever demand for fertilizer in recent history. February 2021: Arctic Blast caused home-heating demand to spike sharply, which carried natural gas prices with it. Consequently, North American nitrogen production facilities implemented a short-term production closure. August 2021: Hurricane Ida damaged some of the largest fertilizer production plants in the world. September 2021: Russia threatened to cut natural gas shipments to Europe. The Dutch TTF increased substantially and curtailed European production by 40 per cent. Lead up to the Olympics: China limits fertilizer exports. As fertilizer supplies became tighter in North America and Europe, nations worldwide limited exports to ensure domestic availability. February 2022: Russia's invasion of Ukraine increased the price shock. March 2022: Canada puts 35 per cent tariffs and sanctions on fertilizer imports from Russia and Belarus. August 2022: Cutting off Europe's natural gas supply forced production reductions and increasing prices.