Ahead of spring road ban season, stocks of grain in primary elevators across the Prairies point to a tighter space situation given a combination of increased producer deliveries and a slowing of movement by the railways.
In week 32, or the week ending March 10, producers delivered 933,600 metric tons into the prairie grain handling system. This is reported as the largest volume delivered in six weeks and 13% higher than the previous four-week average. Producers delivered 434,300 mt of wheat during the week, the largest weekly volume delivered since week 20, while 28% higher than the previous four-week average. Producers also delivered 185,200 mt of canola during the week, the smallest volume reported in four weeks and only slightly higher than the previous four-week average.
Along with increased deliveries, railway service is seen slowing. In week 31, the Ag Transport Coalition reported just 41% of the cars wanted by shippers spotted for loading across the country system, the lowest percentage reported this crop year. In week 32, railways boosted the car spot to 54% of the cars wanted for loading, with 4,193 cars spotted in the week wanted out of the reported demand of 7,776 hopper cars. To-date, CN has rationed or outright cancelled 6,837 cars as of week 32, while CP has cancelled 159 cars.
This combination of events has led to growing stocks in the prairie system, as seen on the attached graphic, with primary elevator grain stocks across all three prairie Provinces higher than the previous crop year as well as the five-year average for this week. By far the largest build is seen in Saskatchewan, with current stocks 373,660 mt higher than the five-year average.
The black line represents the current level of stocks as compared to Quorum Corporation's estimated working capacity. This percentage varies from 74.5% in British Columbia to 89% in Manitoba and 89.9% in Saskatchewan.
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