Wittal: StatsCan numbers yield few surprises

June 23 — After putting on approximately 1,800 km in four days of riding across southeastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan, and getting rained on for two of the four days, I can safely say there were some real good downpours around Wilcox through Moose Jaw to Swift Current, as it seemed like we got rained on by every cloud that went by. The rains followed us back into Alberta Monday as we travelled home, but disappeared after we got west of Brooks.

Rains were sporadic throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan and some areas where it was much needed received little or no rain this past weekend. Overall, though, growing conditions across the U.S. and Western Canada are slowly improving for the most part.

Statistics Canada came out with its seeded acreage estimate for this spring and there were no real surprises, other than barley being at the low end of trade estimates, which will no doubt continue to support prices going forward if hot, dry weather persists. Canola acreage was down over earlier estimates and the trade believes this number will fall further once the true extent of reseeding due to frost is calculated in at a later date.

The key will be weather going forward and yield estimates as the growing season progresses.

Financial markets are mixed to down again today and the U.S. dollar is off almost a full cent.

The Dow Jones June quote closed down three points at 8,280.

The Canadian dollar closed up 0.21 cents at US86.98 cents today.

Crude oil is currently up $1.72, trading at US$69.22 per barrel.

Corn is up three to five cents per bushel from yesterday.

Beans are up 23-28 cents per bushel today.

Wheat is currently trading mixed, down three to up eight cents per bushel on the various U.S. exchanges. Minneapolis July wheat futures closed up eight cents per bushel today.

Canola closed up $3-$5.30 per tonne today.

Barley finished down $3.20 to close at $168.60 per tonne.

Canola found support from the continued momentum in the bean markets and futures were able to push upward slowly.

The recent run in barley was seen to be too high, too fast, and the past few days have proven that to be true with the hard drop, but with StatsCan reporting reduced acres, prices are going to find support at current levels, as hay and pasture lands are not in great shape and feed could be at a premium come fall if more rains don’t materialize soon.

Crops and pastures from Shaunavon to Assiniboia looked to be in good shape as they had received rains the past week or two, but everything is late, as I did see some seeding still being done in a few places and a lot of in-crop spraying taking place. If we can get timely rains and some good heat, crops will catch up fast and pastures will grow, enabling farmers and ranchers to put the cattle out to graze and reduce feeding costs. If not, and pastures continue to struggle, barley prices will continue to rise throughout the summer into the fall, especially now with the reduced acres seeded this spring.

That’s all for today. I will be back next Tuesday. — Brian

— Brian Wittal has spent over 27 years in the grain industry, including as an elevator manager and producer services representative for Alberta Wheat Pool, a regional sales manager for AgPro Grain and farm business representative for the Canadian Wheat Board, where he helped design some of the new pricing programs. He also operates his own company providing marketing and risk management advice for Prairie grain producers. Brian’s daily commentaries focus on how domestic and world market conditions affect you directly as grain producers.

Brian welcomes feedback and information on market conditions in your area, such as current offering prices, basis levels, trucking premiums and special crops contracts. Contact Brian today.


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