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Wheat Moving Out Ahead Of Red River Flood

Good progress has been made getting wheat out of the areas expected to be flooded by the rising Red River here and south to the border.

“We probably have two-thirds to three-quarters of it in now and we’re fairly confident the bulk of it will be off-farm before the flood waters hit,” Canadian Wheat Board (CWB) spokeswoman Maureen Fitzhenry said in an interview last week.

Initially the CWB anticipated farmers could deliver 95,000 tonnes of wheat to elevators here, at Letellier and Winkler. Now the CWB expects 400 farmers will ship out 50,000 to 60,000 tonnes, Fitzhenry said.

“It has been a joint effort with the railways and three grain companies – Cargill, Paterson and Viterra,” she said.

The Manitoba government’s decision to waive its spring weight restrictions on area roads for farmers in the flood area has also helped, Fitzhenry said.

The CWB wants to move grain out before it floods to avoid it being damaged and downgraded. (Many grain bins and farmyards are protected from flooding by either being behind a permanent dike or having been raised.) Even if grain remains dry, flooding will delay its delivery as roads and highways are submerged.

“We need strong deliveries through the spring period so this program makes sense from the perspective too,” Fitzhenry said.

The CWB has been moving record volumes of wheat recently thanks to a big crop last year, good sales, steady deliveries and strong railway performance.

“Our East Coast movement, there’s not much doubt, will be a record in April,” Fitzhenry said. [email protected]

About the author

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Allan Dawson

Allan Dawson is a reporter with the Manitoba Co-operator based near Miami, Man. Covering agriculture since 1980, Dawson has spent most of his career with the Co-operator except for several years with Farmers’ Independent Weekly and before that a Morden-Winkler area radio station.

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