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Recently I saw a tweet from a Canadian farmer about a new crop soybean bid in west central Saskatchewan. And as he noted that's pretty far north for that crop - above the 51st latitude. For those of you a little rusty on Canadian geography, here is where the elevator is located Kindersly, SK It's 170 miles north of our border.
While my generation watched as Brazil and Argentina built soy production powerhouses, my son will likely watch one arise on the great prairies of Canada.
While some of the credit for this farming change goes to better soy genetics, the big reason is shown right here. Canada has been adding growing season days at about 2 days per decade since 1960. Along with the additional growing degree units, came an increase of over 20% in precipitation.
Manitoba has led the western provinces in soybean planting, singlehandedly boosting Canadian acres to over 7 million this year. And all indications are this is just the beginning. Compared to small grains especially, soybeans are more profitable to grow.
Meanwhile processors and transportation are beginning to emerge to capitalize on this new crop and the seemingly unlimited demand from China. It also helps that Canada has outstanding port facilities on their Pacific coast This is still less than a tenth of US production, but to me it suggests that the new demand we see in the future won't depend on our output alone.
While American growers have adjusted with discomfort to the growing clout of South American producers in the global market, competition from neighbors to the north is a startling idea that will probably be underestimated for a few years.
Luckily, those of us old enough to remember when the Canadian growing season severely limited what crops could be grown won't be around to perpetuate this blind spot. My guess is my son will watch reports of the Canadian soy and corn crops with intense interest.
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