December, 2019, has now come and gone.
No significant wheat quality problems have been reported for 2019 although winter kill and other seeding options reduced the overall acreage. Weather conditions at times were reported as challenging. Good quality wheat with decent yields and prices over $300.00 per metric tonne for milling wheat are being reported. . Feed wheat prices have strengthened to $280- $290.00 per metric tonne since November 2019. Quality seed and, good management ensures that wheat will remain a viable crop option for skilled and, motivated growers. Both volumes and feed quality of local corn of this year’s crop were problematic due to hurricane like weather at harvest.
For barley, the P.E.I. seeded acreage increased in 2019. GEC growers reported decent quality and average yields for 2019. Feed barley is in demand. Prices have remained in the $255.00 range since mid November 2019. Given the decrease in available local and, high quality corn, the local feed barley basis is expected to remain strong. The GEC will actively compete for farm stored product this year and, continue sales to customers, large and small throughout the winter season as local 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 favored in the regional market place.
Decent quality feed grade oats were purchased by GEC and delivered to all three elevator locations this year. Prices now exceed $ 230.00 up from $190.00 in January 2019. The national seeded acreage for oats is recovering once again this year. Maintaining quality for the local market will continue to be a challenge. Higher freight costs and, parameters such as colour have tended to keep P.E.I. out of 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 out of province shipping cost remains as an issue.
GEC soybean growers were fortunate in having a large percentage of this year’s production forward contracted in order to avoid increasing trade challenges due to geopolitical and technical issues.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 contracted soybeans for export from a total supply shipped to all three GEC locations. These were part of a marine vessel program in Halifax for 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 down somewhat. It is possible that some have likely gone into on farm storage. GEC will certainly expect an opportunity to bid on these, 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 backhauls available. On the other hand, out of Province dockage and grading at time and location of delivery remain as issues. GEC was forced to terminate its vessel program this year due to difficulties in acquiring a vessel and handling equipment and lower delivered sales volumes. Volume and price are important. Stronger grower prices are to be expected if trade tensions de escalate.