Large grain, oilseed stocks expected in StatsCan report

CNS Canada — Thanks to record-large Canadian crop production in 2013-14, stocks of grain and oilseeds in Canada as of March 31 are likely to be pegged as very large in Statistics Canada’s report, due out Monday.

“It’s pretty much a given that we’re going to see sharply higher stocks” compared to last year, said Chuck Penner, president of LeftField Commodity Research in Winnipeg. “We can’t have used that much between Dec. 31, 2013 and now.”

Overall, the report won’t likely impact the markets or crop prices, especially for canola — that is, unless farmers tell Statistics Canada “something wildly different,” Penner said.

“With canola for example, we know pretty well what’s been exported, what’s been crushed, so there really isn’t much wiggle room on the numbers.”

Ken Ball of PI Financial in Winnipeg added that the crushing pace of canola in Canada has been pretty much stable, so the stocks number won’t likely deviate greatly from the last report.

“There’s probably no great mystery other than a little bit of canola moving into the U.S. sometimes that gets under the radar,” Ball said. “But there hasn’t been that much going down there.”

Of all the agricultural reports StatsCan puts out, the March 31 stocks report is the one to which market watchers pay the least attention, said Jon Driedger, analyst with FarmLink marketing Solutions in Winnipeg.

Because of this, there weren’t many estimates put out ahead of the report, but average guesses for canola call for 8.1 to 8.7 million tonnes. At the same time last year, stocks of canola were at 3.91 million tonnes, according to StatsCan data.

The one thing that will be watched in the report is how much grain was used for feed, as it is somewhat unknown for crops like wheat, barley and oats.

“The feed number is a residually calculated thing. They just figure out what everything else is, and then whatever is left over is feed,” Penner said.

Jerry Klassen, manager of GAP Grains and Produits in Winnipeg, said there were more cattle on feed this year, and very little corn and DDGS (dried distillers grains with solubles) were imported.

There is also some talk that the 2013-14 Canadian wheat production figure, of 37.53 million tonnes, was overstated, and the report could provide some confirmation either way, Klassen added.

Average guesses call for all wheat stocks between 21.6 million and 22.2 million tonnes as of March 31, compared to the year-earlier figure of 13.46 million tonnes.

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

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