Trends Jan 2/19
Despite variable weather, most cereal growers who dealt with GEC reported a successful growing and harvest season. For corn and soybeans it was a different story; growers experienced both variable weather and harvest conditions from hell. GEC cereal & soybean purchase volumes declined in 2018 due to greater buyer competition and alternative cropping choices. Shifts to corn, pulse, yellow mustard and, cover crops have all taken a toll on the cereal acreage although increases in spring and winter wheat acreage have been noted. GEC does not handle large volumes of corn. Soybeans are a priority.
This year, the Halifax P&H milling operation, and increased off shore demand for wheat is leading to earlier sales and reduced storage charges. In the feed market, there is corn against which local feed crops must compete. A local malting workshop was held earlier this fall and varietal work at Harrington P.E.I. is supporting efforts to grow malting barley in addition to feed. Oats had an average year. GEC purchased just over 1500 metric tonnes; slightly lower than previous years. Lingering quality problems restrict P.E.I. sales potential to the local feed market
P.E.I. remains a price taker in a world of growing trade protectionism and seasonal transportation/infrastructure weakness. While a number of trade agreements have been negotiated, tensions remain. Trade, transportation, and inadequate infrastructure combine to have negative impacts on price. It is to be hoped that these issues will soon be resolved. On the livestock side, market& price stability will be welcomed. For the fish and aqua culture sectors, feed demand remains strong. GEC efforts will be directed at maximizing grower returns and sales volumes. Firmer price prospects are also influenced by cropping intentions and yield projections world wide and should not be overlooked. The GEC management team audits these trends daily.
In 2018, GEC explored with limited success, greater access to the Newfoundland feed market.
Through relationships established with the local transportation industry including a recent marine presence in Summerside and, access to local harbor storage in the Halifax Elevator system, GEC has more than doubled its handling capacity. Increased volumes of storage under it’s control will soon be a reality as the corporation has negotiated up to 9.1 million dollars of capital funding to increase capacity especially at harvest time at all three elevator locations. More storage is key to lower cost & competitiveness.
GEC also supports the efforts of the Atlantic Grains Council (AGC) by collecting a research levy and helping to recommend new cereal varieties and design aspects of agronomy projects. GEC General Manager Neil Campbell is the new Vice President. AGC will receive in excess of three million dollars over the next four years from the federal and provincial governments to administer grower focused research programming.
GEC continues to search for new export opportunities aimed at identifying profitable crop sale prospects. Differentiated winter wheat markets may soon offer future opportunities. Food safety and sustain ability standards are gaining in prominence as a means to ensure continued market access. Growers are reminded that emerging sales opportunities for corn, and soybeans, wheat, barley or oats must meet stringent export standards. Traceability and food safety standards may well become additional quality criteria of the future.
GEC staff are available to answer your marketing questions and can also provide information on risk management and future price prospects. The reader should contact the General Manager Neil Campbell or facilities supervisors Wade Waddell, Donald Stewart or Joe Vandenberghe for further information by accessing the “Contacts” section of this website.