On March 18, Statistics Canada released an overview of the impact of COVID-19 on the agency's publishing activities. All releases not viewed as "mission critical," or not needed for the "proper functioning of the Government of Canada, and to the Canadian economy and society" will be suspended until further notice.
Statistics Canada agriculture releases took a major hit, failing to make the list of "mission critical" releases. One exception is monthly export data that will continue to appear in the Canadian international merchandise trade report.
This week saw three reports postponed, which includes the Milled wheat and wheat flour produced report, the Oilseed crushing statistics report and the Deliveries of major grains report for the month of February. Here's a look at producer delivery statistics as reported by the Canadian Grain Commission as of week 32, or the week-ending March 15.
In week 32, producers delivered 1.2298 million metric tons of all major grains into licensed facilities, the highest weekly volume delivered in six weeks and 16.8% higher than the previous four-week average. Looking back in time, this is the largest weekly volume delivered in week 32 over the past five years checked. Primary elevator space remains tight, with primary elevator stocks as of week 32 at over 90% of the estimated working capacity on the Prairies used by Quorum Corporation for the third consecutive week. At the same time, the recent backlog in rail movement and spring weather looming has led to steady movement as space is made available.
Year-to-date, cumulative deliveries of all grain are pegged at 38.5682 million metric tons, up 3.9% from 2018-19 and 10.3% higher than the five-year average for this period. As seen on the attached chart, year-to-date volumes of almost all major grains are higher than the five-year average, although durum deliveries are close to equal to the average pace and flax deliveries year-to-date lags the average pace.
When compared to the 2018-19 crop year, deliveries of the selected grains are higher this crop year for all by wheat and flax (not shown).
When the total available supplies available for delivery by producers are taken into account, which includes July 31 ending stocks on farm plus the crop year production estimate, as estimated by Statistics Canada, we see deliveries of canola and peas leading the way, with 59.9% of the available canola supplies and 60.5% of the peas delivered as of week 32. This is shown by the black line on the chart, measured against the secondary vertical axis. These numbers could be viewed as under-estimated due to Statistics Canada production estimates that include millions of acres of unharvested crop.
The lowest percentage shown is for barley at 23.6%, although deliveries into licensed facilities account for a much lower percent of total production given the large volume used domestically.
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Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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