Week 35 Canadian Grain Commission data for the week ending April 5 shows grain stocks in licensed primary elevators falling for a second week to 4.558 million metric tons, the lowest volume reported in six weeks, but remain troublesome at a time when the railways continue to cancel cars required to move it. This volume is up 4.6% from the same week in 2018-19 and up 16.6% from the five-year average of 3.909 mmt for this period.
The week 35 volume ties up 89.2% of the estimated working capacity in the primary elevator system on the Prairies, as estimated by Quorum Corporation, signaling a continued tight space situation. Over the past nine-week period, this calculation points to stocks ranging from 88.5% to 91.1% of estimated working capacity of 5.110 mmt.
As can be seen on the attached chart, primary elevator stocks reached a high of 4.561 mmt in week 33 of the 2018-19 crop year, while trending lower through to week 42. A similar trend may follow as producer deliveries slow due to road bans and spring seeding, although the continued rationing of CN cars is having a bearing on overall movement.
The AG Transport Coalition reports that CN Rail rationed or cancelled 880 hopper cars in week 35, the largest number of cars reported cancelled in five weeks. So far this crop year, a total of 20,612 CN hopper cars and 101 CP cars have been canceled, accounting for roughly 1.9 mmt of movement. Over the past three crop years, an average of 12,978 cars have been cancelled over the course of the entire crop year.
When the data for crops in storage is considered for week 35, 47% of the total grain stocks is wheat (excluding durum). This is the highest percentage reported for this week in three years, while the three-year average (2016-17 through 2018-19) is 45.1% of total stocks. Only 14.3% of total stocks are reported as canola stocks, which is below the three-year average of 20.1%.
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