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Study: Organic Prices Becoming Volatile
USAgNet - 10/13/2021

Mercaris' monthly reporting for the 2020/21 marketing year has given a strong focus to organic soybeans. The market that once could have been described as conspicuously stable, has seen a year of supply challenges, and subsequently higher prices. The October Organic Market Update, released today, gives a detailed look at the current conditions surrounding the organic soybean market.

"From the 2015/16 MY through the 2019/20 MY organic soybean prices changed very little, resulting in a fairly predictable market," says Ryan Koory, Vice President of economics for Mercaris. "That all changed over 2020/21 with organic soybeans gaining $12.56 since the beginning of the marketing year for an average of $32.70/bushel over September of this year."

The changes, Koory notes, were driven by declining imports and tightening supplies. However, this could change as U.S. production expected to increased 15 percent over the previous year.

"U.S. organic soybean production is on pace to reach 9.5 million bushels in 2021," says Koory. "But, decreased imports from Argentina and pending tariffs for Indian organic soybean meal will likely drive buyers to navigate the unknown even more as we move into 2021/22."

Mercaris' analysis notes that while the decline in organic soybean imports is due in part to global shipping issues, other unknown factors have also affected trade. With U.S. prices at record highs, organic soybean imports will likely increase over 2021/22 if global shipping bottlenecks improve and factors impacting Argentine supplies resolve. However, Koory explains, these conditions will still likely cause shifts within the industry.

"While 2021/22 could see record high U.S. organic soybean supplies and record high organic soybean crush, buyers can likely expect persistently high organic soybean and soybean meal prices," says Koory. "Markets may shift as organic livestock operations become more dependent on domestically produced organic soybean meal."

Depending on the pace of imports, Koory acknowledges that organic soybean prices could see some relief. But, organic soybean meal prices may have a harder time finding that same relief if the pending tariff rates come into effect.

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