While it is still a long time until harvest, the general manager of the PEI Grain Elevator Corporation is optimistic both prices and yields will be good for grain and oilseeds producers.
Neil Campbell, who is also vice chair of the Atlantic Grains Council, explained grain and oilseed prices and are heavily influenced by weather and growing conditions in the United States. As of early July, Campbell said many growing areas south of the border were experiencing dry conditions and that was pushing prices up.
That is especially true for milling wheat, as supplies are expected to be tight, and Campbell said the Island elevator has the set a threshold of 12.5 % protein content. The general manager said the winter wheat crop looks "extremely good" adding everybody has their fingers crossed for a repeat of 2018, which proved to be one of the best years in recent memory for the crop in terms of both yield and price.
Corn and soybeans are also looking good at this point although he said it is too early in the growing season to make any long-range predictions. He described oats and barley as "ok" saying the wet weather in June slowed growth.
"Spring wheat looks really good," the general manager said.
Campbell noted the wet and humid weather in June created idea conditions for toxics and Fusarium Head Blight and he urged growers to maintain a strict control schedule saying "the conditions have been ideal for its growth so far this year."
The general manager said the lack of snow cover last winter has also led to more volunteers than usual in many fields and that cuts across several varieties.
Even if there is a great crop south of the border, Campbell is confident Island producers will see good yields and prices. Right now, he said the potential is there for a repeat of 2014, which was a strong year for grains and oilseeds in terms of both crops and prices.
He said there is little of last year's crop left in storage for most varieties and that should also help increase prices. Campbell is also predicting livestock growers will be facing slightly higher feed prices over the winter. However, he said it is "still a long time until harvest and there are few certainties in farming. The biggest un certainty tends to be the weather."
Grain and Oilseed producers have several marketing options available to them for grain, by virtue of the corporation's grain pooling arrangements. These products; once placed within the pools are also hedged whenever there is an opportunity, thus price risk is managed and minimized.
Campbell said the Loonie was trading at just under 80 cents compared to its American counterpart in early July, virtually unchanged since March. A high Canadian dollar tends to hurt exports as it make Canadian agricultural products more expensive.