Canada Markets

A Look at Recent DTN 360 Poll Results

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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DTN's most recent poll asked readers if they would prefer the standard visual test for milling wheat over a falling number test as a means of generating the highest returns. The largest responses were split between the two methods (DTN graphic).

Each week, DTN poses a poll question to readers based on current issues in the industry. Here we look at the results from some of the most recent results.

The falling number test on milling wheat has long been used by Canadian exporters to meet buyers' specifications on wheat quality. While falling number is not a grading factor in the Canadian Grain Commission's system, it is being studied and is used more and more on the Prairies. It has become a contentious issue this fall given the challenges faced in harvesting the crop and the variability in grades, used by some companies on all deliveries with prices discounted accordingly.

DTN's most recent informal poll asked which method of grading would generated the highest returns on readers' farms. The largest responses were split almost evenly between the use of falling number results, with 38% of respondents choosing this option, while 37% of respondents would prefer traditional visual methods. The balance of respondents were satisfied with a combination of visual tests and the falling number test.

By province, results were spread across the three choices mentioned, although two-thirds of Saskatchewan responses favoured the visual grade determination.

Following Canada's federal election, the question was asked what the top priorities for Canada's minority government should be as it relates to the agriculture file. The largest responses were split evenly between repairing and restoring the country's trade relations, as well as reviewing the detrimental effect of the carbon tax and eliminating this tax on food production. A further 20% of respondents chose improvements to Canada's risk management programs.

Parliament is set to reconvene on Dec. 5, while Saskatchewan's Premier Scott Moe meeting on Nov. 12 with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was reported by media to be a disappointment and potentially signals growing frustrations ahead for prairie producers.

An earlier poll asked how producers plan to handle tough grain. Of the responses to this informal poll, 55% of producers indicated they have on-farm drying capacity or plan to add it. It is interesting to note that the largest percentage of responses choosing this option were seen in Manitoba (two-thirds of responses) and the lowest percentage of responses choosing this option were seen in Alberta (one-third of responses).

The balance of responses were split between the use of custom drying capacity, the sale of tough grain to an elevator, the respondent's grain came off dry and does not require drying and the balance were not aware at the time what they will do.

An October poll pointed to a shipment of durum leaving the Port of Churchill, the first exports from the port in four years, while asking readers what they thought. An overwhelming 85% of respondents were in favour of this movement and viewed it as a valuable addition to Canada's grain handling system. A further 15% of respondents were not excited about the move, focusing on the short season, rail access is less reliable while Vancouver capacity is set to increase that will offset benefits of Churchill movement.

As of week 13, or the week ending Nov. 3, 94,000 metric tons of durum have been unloaded at the port, along with 35,000 mt of bulk lentils. Shipments to-date total 69,100 mt of durum and 34,500 mt of lentils. The last crop year the port was utilized for grain was 2015-16, where the Canadian Grain Commission reported 122,900 mt of wheat shipped, 33,000 mt of durum and 31,900 mt of lentils, or 187,800 mt in total, down from 525,200 mt shipped in the 2014-15 crop year.

In early October, the poll asked which of a group of selected crops had the best opportunity for price appreciation. This included spring wheat, durum, peas, canola, lentils and oats. Of the responses, 42% or just less than one-half of respondents chose spring wheat. Harvest challenges and adverse weather on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border has perhaps made this a logical choice, although December MGEX spring wheat has fallen 20 1/2 cents USD in October and roughly 8 cents so far during the current month of November, while is currently testing the 61.8% retracement of the move from the September low to September high. Forecasts for a record global carryout in 2019-20 continue to weigh on the market, with noncommercial traders continuing to hold a bearish net-short position.

The option that received the next largest response is canola, with one-quarter of respondents' selecting this option. Across the Prairies, Saskatchewan and Manitoba producers leaned towards spring wheat as their top choice, while Alberta producers are more focused on canola as the crop to watch. The current week is the fourth consecutive week of sideways trade in canola, with prices holding in a narrow $11.60/mt range; while any break-through in Canada-China relations on the trade front could result in a breakout higher.

This week's 360 Poll asks about the status of harvest in your area. We thank you for your feedback!

Cliff Jamieson can be reached at

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