Wheat, corn, oats and barley stocks return to more normal levels
A weakening Canadian dollar has been key to moving Canadian wheat (most of it to elevators in the U.S.) and other crops.
The robust export market coupled with 2014’s poor growing season has reduced year-end stocks of wheat, corn, oats and barley in Canada, compared with 2013’s hefty inventory levels, according to Stats Canada’s Stocks of Principal Field Crops report released in early February.
Despite significantly lower feed use of principal grains, Canada’s year-end stocks have returned to “more normal levels,” says John Duvenaud, partner in Canadagrain and Wild Oats Grain Market Advisory in Winnipeg.
Feed usage in Canada in 2014 dropped 2.4 million tons below the previous year, with most of the reduction in wheat.
Of the principal field grains stocks, only soybean inventories were higher, which reflects the country’s slow shift to soybeans. As of Dec. 31, soybean stocks rose 29.4% from the previous year to a record 3.5 million metric tons, surpassing the 2011 year-end high of 2.8 million metric tons.
No doubt, Canadian producers will look to plant more soybeans this year, but the hot crops will be peas and lentils. “Canadian exports of peas and lentils for human consumption are very strong, and high prices will entice Canadian producers to plant them,” Duvenaud says.
Year-end wheat stocks plunged 13.5% from 2013 levels to 24.8 million metric tons, following a 22%
decrease in 2014 wheat production, according to Stats Canada.
“A lot of wheat is being moved to North Dakota and Montana,” Duvenaud notes. “The outlet of choice for southern Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta wheat farmers is south of the border because U.S. elevator bids are $1 higher than they are in Canada.”
With the Canadian dollar plunging, durum wheat exports have surged, he adds. The Canadian dollar has dropped from near parity in July to below 80¢ in late January.
Canola stocks stood at 11.1 million metric tons as of Dec. 31, down 10.5% from 2013. Canada’s lower year-end canola stocks reflect 2014’s 13.4% drop in canola production.
Total stocks of corn for grain at 9.7 million metric tons on Dec. 31 was 16.6% below 2013’s record-high of 11.6 million metric tons.
Oat stocks were 12.7% below a year ago at 2.5 million metric tons, and barley stocks plunged 20.3% to 5.4 million tons. “Barley feed use was lower than we thought it would be,” Duvenaud notes. “By the end of this crop year, barley stocks will probably be at a record low.”