LeftField Commodity Research provides independent insight and analysis for Canadian grain, oilseed, pulse and other special crop markets. We produce value for clients by drawing together information sources and revealing what is important. Our core business is crop market analysis and economic research.

At LeftField, we understand the power of knowledge and data to provide better answers. We gather data and analyses from around the globe and distill them down to what's essential. We don’t pretend to have all the answers, but provide insight to help clients make more profitable decisions. If we don’t accomplish that, we’re not doing our job.

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notes from LeftField

Confessions of a Grain Market Analyst - Part 2

Long-Range Forecasts are Worthless

No matter how smart the person is who does them, grain market forecasts beyond a year out (and even that’s stretching it) aren’t worth the digital ink they’re written with. Sure, they satisfy the accountant’s need to insert a line item in the projected budget but have no purpose beyond that. Most long-term forecasts are glorified trend analysis and real life markets don’t behave that way. Weather is the main driver of grain markets and we all know how accurate those forecasts are. Throw in a few unpredictable changes to economic or trade policy and you end up with a complete fog. True, one of these forecasts occasionally ends up being right but that’s a clear case of more luck than brains. But hey, if you’re looking for a long-term outlook, we’d be happy to provide one. We’ll get the dart board all warmed up.

Confessions of a Grain Market Analyst - Part 1

I am not a prophet.

When it comes to predicting the future for lentil or oat markets, I don’t get answers from on high. I chose the company name “LeftField” for a reason. In agriculture maybe more than any other business, things come out of left field. This year’s durum market was a good example. A lot of acres were planted in spring. We saw that coming. The wet summer started to provide hints that fusarium would be a problem. We didn’t predict that but began building that possibility into the outlook. But the heavy snow that hit the crop in November came out of left field. That was the last straw for the market. We could see some of these things coming, but not others. Rather than a prophet, maybe "tea leaf reader" is a better description.