The largest crop in Saskatchewan’s history and record yields all across Western Canada has resulted in some strains in grain being moved by trains this fall, but when taken in perspective everything is going smoothly.
Derrick Vetter, general manager of Cargill Ltd. in Davidson, said local producers have had “pretty good crops” the past four or five years while other parts of Western Canada have suffered through wet land, problems seeding or the crop just not coming in as big. He said this year is different as there are big crops spread out all across Western Canada.
“We’ve been lucky and maybe a little bit spoiled the last couple years when we’ve had good crops and good quantity and good quality, so we’ve been probably able to get a little bit more than our fair share when we talk (about) our local marketplace here, between the two cities and either end between the lakes,” said Vetter. “Now that this year when everybody has lots of quantity and for the most part the same quality it’s just getting spread out over a much bigger geography.”
Last week Statistics Canada estimated Saskatchewan’s 2013 crop is 38.4 million tonnes, which is 40 per cent above 2012 production and 48 per cent above the 10-year average. It further indicates this province’s canola crop is estimated to the largest on record at 8.9 million tonnes, an increase of 37.5 per cent over 2012. Production levels for wheat, canola, peas, lentils, chickpeas, oats and flax are all estimated to be above the 10-year average.
Vetter said this has resulted in a bit of a delay in grains being moved by trains, but it’s more company specific and they are “probably not” experiencing much of one. He said they still have a little bit of October grain to move, but for the most part they’re fairly current.
“When we’ve actually started looking into as far as trains running this year versus previous years, other than the month of October for us, we’re probably ahead of where we typically would be this time of year as far as shipping by rail,” he said. “It’s one of those things. There is lots of talk about the doom and gloom, (but) I think if people were to look at the stats it’s maybe not as bad as what the perception is out there.”
A Canadian Grain Commission release last week showed exports of Western Canadian grain to be higher this year to date compared to data from the same time last year and the five-year average. It states the volume of grain shipped by producer cars is also higher than at the same time last year.
As of Nov. 24, the Canadian Grain Commission states 5.1 million tonnes of wheat and 2.3 million tonnes of canola have been exported this crop year. The five-year average for exports of wheat by this time is 3.9 million tonnes and for canola 1.8 million tonnes.
That means 2013 exports have seen a 31 per cent increase in wheat exports and a 28 per cent increase in canola exports compared to the five-year average. This amounts to Western Canadian producers shipping 105,700 tonnes of wheat and 5,500 tonnes of canola to terminal elevators by producer car, while in the 2012-2013 crop year producers shipped 64,600 tonnes of wheat and 5,300 tonnes of canola to terminal elevators by this time.
To read more please see the December 9 print edition of The Davidson Leader.