Canada Running Out of Wheat

03:39PM May 06, 2016
( )

Wheat stocks in Canada have dropped to levels not seen since the 1930s, and supplies of lentils are even more depleted.

All in all, though, the news out of Canada was mixed for stocks of principal field grains. As of March 31, year-over-year stocks of wheat, canola, and soybeans were lower, while inventories of corn, barley and oats were larger, according to Statistics Canada’s Stocks of Principal Field Crops report, released Friday, May 6.

“Wheat stocks are extremely tight on the prairies,” said Cliff Jamieson, Canadian grain analyst with DTN, in Calgary, Alberta. “We knew that going into the report, but this report confirmed it.” Jamieson was the commentator on a post-report MGEX press call.

“Wheat stocks are extremely tight. We have to go back to the 1930s to find stocks this tight,” Jamieson noted. “It means there is virtually no wheat on the prairies.”

Year-over-year stocks of Canada’s largest crop fell 23.8% to 13.8 million metric tons. On-farm wheat stocks plummeted 28.4% to 9.8 million metric tons, while commercial stocks declined 9.4% to 4 million metric tons.

Despite the drop, Jamieson does not expect much of a market impact due to the bearish inventory situation globally and the pending large winter wheat crop in the United States.

Tight Supplies of Lentils

Lentil supplies in Canada are even tighter than wheat supplies. As of March 31, 416,000 metric tons of lentils were being held on farms and by commercial interests, a 64.1% drop from the previous year.

“We are out of lentils on the prairies,” Jamieson says. “The April through July disappearance last year was 800,000 metric tons, double the volume we are now sitting on. We will be out of lentils in real short order.”

Stocks of canola, Canada’s second largest crop, as of March 31, fell 10.1% below the previous year to 7.5 million metric tons, and are the tightest March stocks since 2013. On-farm stocks declined 12.9% to 5.9 million metric tons, while commercial stocks rose 2.1% to a new high of 1.6 million metric tons.

Corn, Soybean Stocks

Last year’s large corn crop pushed March stocks up 23.4% to 7.8 million metric tons. Despite a 3.1% increase in soybean production last year, soybean stocks of 1.8 million metric tons as of March 31 were 15.2% lower than last year’s record-high 2.1 million metric tons.

Year-over-year stocks of barley and oats also rose, with barley stocks increasing 12.1% to 3.8 million metric tons. The large increase in barley stocks reflects a 15.5% gain in production last year. Oat production last year was also much larger than in 2014. Following last year’s 15.1% increase in oat production, year-over-year March stocks increased 9.3% to 1.8 million metric tons.