December and along with it 2018, has now come and gone.
No significant wheat quality problems have been reported for 2018 even though weather conditions at times were reported as challenging. This year to date, earlier season sales have lowered storage costs. Overall, GEC received more than 26,500 metric tonnes of wheat with decent yields and prices over $275.00 per metric tonne for milling wheat being reported. . Feed wheat prices have strengthened to $240- $245.00 per metric tonne since November 2018. Quality seed, and good management ensures that wheat will remain a viable crop for skilled and, motivated growers. On the other hand, feed wheat must compete against increasing supplies of local corn although the quality of this years corn crop is problematic.
For barley, the P.E.I. seeded acreage is declining. 2018 GEC purchases to date are just over 14,000 metric tonnes. Yields were reported as average. Feed barley is in demand. Prices have remained in the $220.00-$225.00 range peaking at $235.00 per metric tonne in June 2018. Given the increasing numbers of local breweries, interest in malting barley continues although this is a niche market. GEC will continue sales to large customers throughout the winter season as product becomes available. Quality criteria are now permanent parameters in assessing the price of a suitable grain. It follows therefore, that two row barley varieties are favoured in the regional market place.
Approximately 1529 metric tonnes of oats were purchased by GEC and delivered to all three elevator locations. Prices now exceed $ 215.00 up from $190.00 last January 2018. The national seeded acreage for oats has stabilized. Maintaining quality for the local market will continue to be a challenge. However, plans are underway to find more lucrative oat markets Higher freight costs and quality parameters such as colour have tended to keep P.E.I. out of these higher value food markets. From the point of view of crop rotation, oats is still a good choice. Growers are working to improve overall crop quality but high shipping cost remains as an issue.
P.E.I. soybean growers have enjoyed strong regional and global demand; for both meal and oil. GEC custom roasts and extrudes raw soybeans and imports quantities of soybean meal for customers. This year despite a challenging harvest, a large number of growers shipped just over12,000 metric tonnes of contracted soybeans for export. These were part of a marine vessel program again this year. The contract price exceeded $400.00 per metric tonne. This is gratifying given the negative price impact of tariffs and global trade challenges such as China and the U.S. are engaged in. GEC’s current and remaining soybean pool inventory is robust. As well, significant volumes have likely gone into on farm storage implying the need for good post harvest storage management.
This past year, for GEC at least, there was greater export competition with more local buyers and aggressive truck freight rates available. On the other hand, out of Province dockage and grading at time and location of delivery remain as issues. GEC is trying s to maintain a viable vessel program and would like to offer a second vessel option next year. Volume and price are important. Stronger grower prices have buffered the losses of the local livestock sector over time.
A price increase is. expected.