There were no significant quality problems and, average yields reported for last years 2016 -17 harvest. This bodes well for GEC as acceptable quality aids in marketing. Since the onset of the 2017 harvest season due partly to an increase in the seeded acreage and readily available wheat imports, prices have remained relatively stable to flat for feed wheat. New winter wheat varieties are performing well in P.E.I. Growers appreciate being able to seed a crop in the fall of the year as it evens out the work load and may fit well in the rotation. Hard red spring milling wheat was also of good quality in P.E.I. this year in contrast to just average results in Western Canada. Overall, GEC received more than 35000 metric tonnes this year. Winter wheat yields were around 2.2 metric tonnes per acre while hard red spring wheat averaged around 1.6 metric tonnes per acre. In retrospect, most growers reported that both rains and sunshine came at the right time. These factors along quality seed, and good management ensure that wheat will remain a viable crop for skilled and, motivated growers. There is a captive market locally for milling wheat. On the other hand, the supply of local feed wheat is abundant and, it must compete against increasing supplies of local corn.
For barley, the P.E.I. acreage has declined over time to less than 50,000 acres and yields this year averaged around one tonne per acre. Accordingly with decent demand for local feed barley, price has increased since harvest. This is good news for growers as barley is an excellent choice in the rotation. GEC does store surplus product early albeit at significant cost while continuing to move significant volumes to several customers later in the fall and throughout the winter season. GEC is working hard to minimize freight and storage charges to growers for all commodities in which the business deals. The region is fortunate with growth taking place in the livestock industry due in part to stronger commodity pricing. 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 1600 metric tonnes of oats were delivered to all three GEC locations. Prices are stronger than a year ago. The national seeded acreage for oats has stabilized and, now shows signs of an increase. New Brunswick is no exception . Maintaining quality continues to be a challenge, Transportation costs continue to escalate in terms of sourcing more lucrative oat markets for P.E.I. such as Quaker Oats in Peterborough, Ontario.
Higher freight costs and colour have kept P.E.I. out of this market for human food consumption. From the point of view of crop rotation, oats is still a good choice. But, the P.E.I. acreage remains low.
P.E.I. enjoys strong regional demand for soybean products such as livestock protein feed both for meal and oil. GEC custom roasts and extrudes soybeans and supplies related regional feed mills and processors with raw product. Many smaller producers have been able to contribute just over12,000 metric tonnes of high quality contracted “crush” soybeans for export. These were part of a marine export order and vessel program again this year and this trend is expected to continue. Prices have softened somewhat recently but, GEC’s soybean pool inventory is up this year implying that many P.E.I. growers expect to see soybean prices increase locally. Time will tell! As well there is a larger percentage of the crop that may be stored on farm this year as growers encountered drier conditions than normally experienced at harvest. This past year, there was greater export competition for delivery of soybeans out of province by truck. A second vessel for the ongoing vessel program from Summerside to point of export was not necessary. Fortunately higher prices the last few years and strong global demand for soybeans has buffered the reduced economic impact of the local livestock sector especially in hogs by providing a profitable business alternative for former livestock producers.