Market & Policy Updates
Update: PEI Grain Elevator September 8, 2021
G.E.C is pleased, as an essential break even service provider to reconfirm that we have successfully navigated continued “healthy” business operations during C.O.V.I.D-19 in terms of grain purchases, handling, storage and marketing of cereal, soybeans and, dry corn crops into domestic, national, and occasionally, International markets. Some of our competitors have not been so fortunate.
We are currently wrapping up our three site capital expansion efforts as well as improving efficiency of our grain handling systems to eliminate or reduce grower line ups.
We have done this during a time of greater crop diversity, an evolution towards fewer & larger grain farms; increasing demand for individualized on farm storage, and drying requirements and, greater product acquisition opportunities for competitors.
On the service side, we continue to provide grain pooling and open market purchases & sales opportunities along with grading, and drying, custom storage / cleaning services, as well we operate two trucks for pick up and product delivery. We provide value added services such as grain/protein bagging, extrusion and roasting along with importation of specialty products like soybean meal for feed purposes. We also evaluate food/feed quality and safety parameters. Our staff are qualified and licensed as grain inspectors, receivers and graders.
This past year, Atlantic Canada has had more than adequate rainfall as opposed to draught in Western Canada and to a lesser extent Ontario and Quebec.
Our challenge has been sufficient heat arriving at an optimum time to maximize yield, quality, and manage issues such as humidity/ moisture related fusarium head blight or, other plant diseases. Now as we move into mid September 2021, a major harvest issue is grain sprouting as rain continues and cereal crops are mature.
With the 2021 cereal harvest behind us, we know that the disease challenges have been dealt with and while there has been grower variability in terms of yield across the Province, we have seen recovery in terms of milling and feed wheat and soybean volumes driven largely by stronger prices related to supply shortages and supply chain interruptions.
P.E.I. is a feed exporter in a net import region so we have been immunized from some global trade issues /challenges that are out there and are benefiting from stronger domestic prices.
On the other hand price and issues like sustainability have seen growth in crop inclusion in diverse rotations and cover cropping to manage and improve soil health sequestering carbon and increasing soil organic matter. These are important advancements as our sector has substituted crop production for livestock and we need to be seen as supportive of “regenerative integrated production agriculture”.
As the crop year continues G.E.C. will continue to implement its marketing plans to maximize grower incomes for greater volumes of wheat and soybeans and stable volumes of crops such as oats and barley. We are working to integrate greater volumes of corn for marketing and drying in the fall of the year, As well we maximize the use of futures markets to address price decline risk on behalf of our customers.
Our field staff; led by General Manager Neil Campbell and supported by a knowledgeable administrative team are available to address marketing/ information requests along with price updates, which appear regularly on our website.
Our Board of Directors is working hard to represent our clients & customers in terms of break even operations by virtue of engagement with the province on policy development and related issues.
We acknowledge the economic importance of the grain and oilseed sectors to our local economy. As an exporter, it is critical to effectively market surplus production.
Let’s hope that market resilience, open supply chains and stronger prices continue. It is also important for the public to understand the contribution our sector can make in terms of creating more public trust about modern grain farming practices and ensuring that our role in terms of addressing environmental, climate variability and sustainability issues is well understood.
We also support sound science as a means to scientifically justify the continued optimum usage of plant protection products / commercial fertilizers and sound soil related agronomy. We are exploring new innovations in plant breeding such as gene editing; including regulatory reform that could lead to a more rapid development of varieties well suited to our region. We are also supportive of our relationship with Atlantic Grains Council (A.G.C.) along with Agriculture Canada and the Provinces.
With grower levies as a starting point, AGC has been able to leverage millions of federal provincial dollars to support research projects of interest.
A relatively new Yield Enhancement Network (Y.E.N.) is a mechanism operated in conjunction with British farmers and researchers to assess enhanced production practices here and appropriate for exploitation in Atlantic Canada related to photosynthesis, root depth, water and nutrient uptake. Growers are encouraged to try new practices and share their experiences with each other.
Good luck as collectively we continue to work through these troubled times. There is substantial evidence to suggest that the future of the grain and oilseed sector in Atlantic Canada is more robust than ever!