Saturday, May 28

Wild Weather in Canada Is Latest Threat to Tight Global Grain Supplies

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(Bloomberg) — Farmers in Canada are struggling to plant crops in fields that are either too wet or too dry, testing an already tight grain market.

One quarter of the cropland in Alberta, or 44 million acres, is in a significant drought, including major growing areas for spring wheat, barley and durum, said Trevor Hadwen, agroclimate specialist with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. In Manitoba, two- thirds of growing areas, another 21 million acres, are suffering from excess moisture after back-to-back storms, he said. That’s caused overland flooding, delaying the start of planting even as another storm threatens to dump more rain on the region this weekend .

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The two extremes in Canada’s prairies come as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is hindering grain shipments from one of the world’s vital breadbaskets, leaving importers scouring for supplies elsewhere. Canada is the top canola exporter and one of the world’s largest wheat exporters. But harvest in the prairies shrank by 40% in 2021 after crops were shriveled by widespread drought.

“There’s a lot of stuff happening in the world and by our calculation every bushel matters, and matters a little bit more,” said Neil Townsend, chief market analyst at FarmLink in Winnipeg, Manitoba. “Less than ideal planting weather in Canada, if it does have an impact on yield or acres, is pretty negative.”

In Alberta, farmers are seeding into very dry conditions and are hoping for moisture to help crops germinate, Hadwen said. Manitoba producers are optimistic they will benefit from the rain once flooding subsides, though the soils are mostly unable to absorb the moisture with the ground still frozen, he said.

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