Primary elevator grain stocks were reported at 4.133 million metric tons for week 32, or the week ending March 13, down 50,300 metric tons from the previous week, while 66,275 mt higher than the four-week average.
Spring represents a challenging period of the crop year, as road bans come into effect, producers face muddy yards and roads, while focus shifts to spring seeding.
Total stocks for week 32 are down 651,900 mt or 13.6% from the same week in 2020-21, while down only 259,240 mt or 5.9% from the five-year average for this week. Stocks remain close to average levels despite the sharply lower production and demand forecast along with the improving rail performance. In week 32, Canada's two major railways spotted 85% of the cars wanted for loading, up sharply from the 75% reported in the week prior while the best combined performance seen since week 15, or mid-November.
In addition, the number of outstanding orders reported by the AG Transport Coalition has fallen to 730 cars in week 32, a number that has fallen for five consecutive weeks after reaching a high of 4,546 cars in week 27. Railways have made major strides in recent weeks.
When looking at the three prairie provinces, stocks for Saskatchewan and Manitoba are below average as of week 32 while above average in Alberta, which will allow railroads a quick turnaround considering the closer proximity to West Coast terminals.
At the same time that stocks are viewed as good relative to historical levels, one can also view elevator space as good and will only get better as deliveries slow through the spring. As of week 32, total elevator stocks represent 75.2% of the estimated working capacity of 5.4949 mmt, a volume used by Quorum Corporation in the Grain Monitoring Programs Weekly Performance Update. Across the three provinces, this percentage ranges from 69.7% in Manitoba, where movement will continue to increase with the opening of the eastern seaway, to 81.9% in Alberta.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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