Durum prices, quality vary

CNS Canada — The Canadian durum crop is currently seeing a wide range in both crop quality and prices.

“It looks like the prices are quite volatile,” said Jerry Klassen, manager of GAP SA Grains and Produits in Winnipeg. “They are quite variable between $7 per bushel to $8.50 per bushel.”

This wide price range comes with volatile export values and depends also on where the grain is being shipped to, he said.

“Whether it’s Vancouver or Thunder Bay, maybe some to the U.S., it depends where they’re shipping to and that’s the big reason for the variation in prices, because each of those different markets is different,” he said.

“So within a radius in Saskatchewan and Alberta, the prices are quite variable. We see the U.S. companies starting to bid more aggressively for Canadian durum and that’s basically the higher-end range. So that’s why it’s so variable.”

Right now, there is strong export demand for Canadian durum, Klassen said.

“We have good demand out of Vancouver, good demand out of Thunder Bay,” he said. “And the U.S. has not-bad yields, but their crop is going to be smaller than last year, and they have lower acreage so there are some problems there.”

Like many crops in the country, the wide range of weather conditions have results in variable crops conditions across Western Canada.

“We have area pockets north of the Trans-Canada Highway that are extremely dry,” said Klassen. “Then you have areas around Swift Current, Sask. that are quite favourable and then you have areas closer to southeast Saskatchewan in the peripheral-durum region that are too wet, they’re very spotty. Some areas there look very good; some areas look not-so-good.”

In Alberta, durum crops are suffering due to hot temperatures and a lack of rain since June.

“If you look at one area you might think the crop is OK but you have to look at the whole crop area to get a better handle on the yield potential,” said Klassen. “The crop is not going to be as good as last year (in Alberta).”

— Marney Blunt writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.



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