Canadian forage exports remain strong

Commodity News Service Canada / Solid U.S. demand and interest from China are keeping Canadian forage exports firm, but higher transportation costs and competition from the U.S. Midwest may limit the upside potential, says Wayne Digby of the Canadian Forage and Grassland Association.

The easing of drought conditions in the southern U.S. could lessen demand, but there is growing interest from China, said Digby, the association’s executive director.

“China will be an interesting potential market if we can be competitive in that market,” he said.

The forage industry is working with China on protocol for timothy exports and there are two Canadian plants which can ship alfalfa to China, he said.

Forage producers are also targeting South Korea, Mexico, India, and the Middle East in a bid to boost exports, which currently average about 600,000 tonnes annually. Canada has a 10 per cent share in the global forage market and in 2011, exported more than $85 million worth of alfalfa, timothy hay, meal, and pellets.

Transportation issues — particularly rising fuel costs and container availability — remain a concern for exporters, Digby said.

Frost, drought hit EU winter grain outlook

paris / reuters / A leading analyst has again cut its forecasts for winter grain crops in the European Union because of both frost and drought, raising the prospect of tight wheat supply in Europe next season.

Strategie Grains lowered by 4.3 million tonnes its forecast of the EU’s main soft wheat crop to 126.8 million tonnes, below last year’s 129.1 million tonnes.

“We now estimate that six per cent of the area originally sown with winter crops will need to be replanted as a result of the severe frosts in February,” Strategie Grains said in a report.

“Soft wheat and winter barley account for more than half of the 2.5 million hectares that will need replanting.”

Drought in southern parts of the EU, meanwhile, intensified in March, with Spain and Portugal worst hit, the analyst said.

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