More Crops Briefs, Jan. 26

CWB’s winter rail program expects high volumes

The Canadian Wheat Board’s winter rail program is expected to be one of the highest-volume years ever.

“This is very good to see,” said CWB spokesperson Maureen Fitzhenry. “There was a big crop and a lot of demand.”

The 2010-11 program transported 840,000 tonnes of wheat and durum to transfer elevators in Eastern Canada, and Fitzhenry said volumes this year are double what they were at the same time one year ago.

“Last year we had a lot of problems with the Canadian Pacific Railway giving us the capacity and service we needed,” Fitzhenry said. “Since we started in November, we’ve had very good service at all railways.”

The board did not say how much grain has been shipped so far, saying that is commercially sensitive information.

The winter rail program transports grain from Western Canada and already stored supplies from Thunder Bay, Ont., to eastern export facilities, while the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence seaways are closed for the winter.

The grain is primarily exported through the Port of Quebec, which has cleaning and drying capacity for grain.

The 2009-10 program transported 1.4 million tonnes of grain, versus 1.35 million tonnes in 2008-09 and 1.2 million tonnes in 2007-08.

Oil World cuts Argentine, Brazil soy crop forecast

Hamburg / Reuters Oilseeds analysts Oil World cut its forecasts of 2012 soybean crops in key exporters Argentina and Brazil by a combined 3.8 million tonnes, which could help raise demand for U.S. soy on global markets.

The cuts follow drought in parts of South America, and despite some recent rainfall, a return to hot and dry weather is forecast, Oil World said.

Oil World’s forecast of Argentina’s 2012 soybean crop was cut to 50.0 million tonnes from the 52.0 million tonnes it forecast in December. But that would still be an increase over the 49.2 million tonnes harvested in 2011 in Argentina.

“It is questionable whether a decline in the Argentine soybean crop below last year’s 49.2 million tonnes can be prevented,” Oil World said.

Oil World said it has cut its forecast of Brazil’s 2012 soybean crop to 71.0 million tonnes from the 72.8 million it forecast in December – down from the 75.3 million tonnes harvested in 2011.

The U.S. is the largest soybean exporter, followed by Brazil and then Argentina.

The Argentine Agriculture Ministry says corn will be hit harder than soybeans, with yields forecast to drop by 20 per cent to 50 per cent.

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