Week 9 statistics reported by the Canadian Grain Commission, which covers the week ending October 2, shows elevator space in prairie elevators in fair shape, even though producer deliveries are higher than normal while shipments from elevators remain above average but below 2015 volumes.
As of October 2, producers had delivered a total of 8.964 million metric tons of principal grains into the licensed elevator system since Aug. 1, 1% higher than seen in the same period in 2015 and 15.8% higher than the five-year average for the same nine-week period. Across the Prairies, Manitoba producers have delivered a volume which is 2.9% higher than the same period in 2015, Saskatchewan producers 2.1% more and Alberta farmers 1.8% less. Looking at some of the larger crops, producers have delivered less wheat, durum and canola than the same period in 2015, although have delivered more lentils, peas and oats than seen in the first nine weeks of 2015.
At 7.383 mmt, shipments out of primary elevators are 5% below the same period last year. Across the Prairies, higher movement out of Manitoba elevators is offset by weaker movement from Saskatchewan and Alberta. By commodity, year-over-year movement is higher for peas, lentils and oats while movement of wheat, durum and canola remains behind year-ago levels.
Space in the country system remains fair as of the Oct. 2 cut-off, despite stocks being higher than the same period last year and above the five-year average. Weather-related harvest delays may also allow some breathing room and allow for some improvement in country space. As of week 9, stocks were reported at 3.608 mmt, above the 3.428 mmt reported in 2015 and the five-year average of 3.124 mmt. According to the Grain Monitor's estimate of working capacity in the primary elevator system of 4.571 mmt, current stocks represents 78.9% of this capacity, up from 72% the previous week.
Time will tell if rail performance will become an issue. Again, the delayed harvest, the need for huge volumes on the Prairies to be dried and the significant volumes of lower quality grain which will bypass elevators will take pressure off of the rail system over time. The most recent Weekly Performance Update from the Ag Transport Coalition points to a significant gap in performance between Canada's two railroads. CN Rail fulfilled 94% of the hopper car demand for week 8 for a shortfall of 304 cars, while CP Rail only supplied 75% of the hopper car demand for the week, shorting the country system 1,104 cars. This bears watching.
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