June 16, 2020 (SILVER SPRING, MD) – Spring 2020 market data indicates a strong planting season along with the emergence of sharply different import trends, according to the Mercaris Monthly Market Update.
As of May 30, 90% of organic corn and 74% of organic soybeans had been planted in the U.S., far ahead of last year’s pace, when organic corn planting was at 66% and soybeans at 36%.
“Thus far, the 2020 spring planting season has been much kinder to U.S. farmers particularly compared to the relentlessly cold and wet conditions of 2019. Although this early on there are no sure bets when it comes to yields, a good planting season is the first step towards a much improved 2020 crop,” said Ryan Koory, Director of Economics at Mercaris.
On the imports front, organics are seeing varying effects due to COVID-19. Organic corn has been largely unaffected, and in fact jumped 434% year-over-year during the March-May period. However, organic cracked corn and organic soybean imports were down over the same period 35% and 12%, respectively, consistent with pre-pandemic trends. Organic soybean meal seems to be the exception, with imports showing signs of strain due to COVID-19 and declining 16% over the same period.
“Organic soybean meal has proven to be the most vulnerable link in the U.S. organic import chain. Through May of the 19/20 marketing year, nearly 90% of U.S. organic soybean meal imports were sourced from India. It’s the combination of this heavy dependence on India, and persistent shipping container and labor shortages within the country that leave organic soybean meal imports so exposed to COVID-19,” Koory said.
In livestock production, April’s massive decline in broiler slaughter, which fell 24% year-over-year, returned to pre-pandemic levels by the end of May. However, the decline that occurred over April and into May was large enough to reduce the broiler slaughter by 1.3 million head for the three-month period.
“The drop in organic broiler slaughter remains an event we don’t fully understand. The reduction suggested by the data is more than significant, but it appears to have been limited to only organic broilers and hasn’t been substantiated by other market information sources. Given how important broiler production is to the U.S. organic industry this will be a topic Mercaris will continue monitoring closely, ” Koory said.
The June Monthly Market Update features major supply and demand factors for organic grains including organic livestock production and year-to-date import data for organic corn and soybeans. For more information, visit Mercaris.com.
Since 2013, Mercaris has been helping its customers capitalize on growing demand for organic and non-GMO foods by providing market access and services tailored to the needs of the identity-preserved agriculture industry. Mercaris focuses its data and services on identity-preserved commodities, including organic and non-GMO corn, soybean, meal and organic wheat, and other small grains markets across all regions of the United States and Canada, and recently launched an organic dairy initiative. Mercaris also maintains an online Trading Platform, a pioneering tool that enables buyers and sellers to find new markets and more profitably trade organic and non-GMO commodities.