Weighing rotation options against ending stocks, impending price volatility

As farmers pencil out close-to-final cropping choices for 2020, Statistics Canada has released the ending stocks of principal field crop figures as of December 31, 2019.

StatsCan notes in the summary of the report that farmers were asked only for what was currently in storage, and not to include what was yet unharvested in the field. Depending on the area, that could mean a significant portion of crop is not included in these figures. This volume will be included at a later date, according to the department.

At year’s end, total stocks of barley, oats, and dry peas were all up compared with the same date in 2018, while total stocks of wheat, canola, corn for grain, lentils, and soybeans were down.

Wheat
Total wheat stocks were down 0.5% year over year to 25.0 million tonnes as of December 31, 2019. On-farm stocks were up 1.5% to 20.8 million tonnes, while commercial stocks decreased by 9.6% to 4.2 million tonnes.

Despite a 0.5% increase in total wheat production at the national level in 2019, lower carry-in stocks (down 10.3% from the previous year to 6.0 million tonnes) were responsible for the drop in total stocks. Lower wheat exports compared with the same period a year earlier contributed to the decrease in commercial stocks.

Canola
Overall, stocks of canola were down 2.4% year over year to 14.3 million tonnes as of December 31, 2019. This decrease was attributable to a 5.9% decline in on-farm stocks to 12.4 million tonnes, which offset a 28.6% increase in commercial stocks to 1.9 million tonnes.

Despite higher carry-in stocks (+52.9%), lower canola production in 2019, coupled with higher industrial use (+8.0%), led to the decline in total canola stocks. Canola exports were down 14.7%, or 641 100 tonnes, year over year, largely because of lower exports to China.

Corn
Total stocks of corn for grain were down 8.1% year over year to 10.7 million tonnes as of December 31, 2019. On-farm stocks fell 5.8%, while commercial stocks decreased 14.3%.

Lower production in 2019 and lower carry-in stocks from the previous crop year were responsible for the decrease in total corn stocks.

Soybeans
Nationally, soybean stocks fell 9.4% year over year to 3.9 million tonnes as of December 31, 2019. On-farm stocks, down 14.2% to 2.4 million tonnes, were responsible for the decrease, while commercial stocks were unchanged.

Barley
Barley stocks rose 20.6% year over year to 6.0 million tonnes as of December 31, 2019. On-farm stocks were largely responsible for the increase, rising 19.5% to 5.6 million tonnes. Commercial stocks increased 36.5% to 403 900 tonnes.

Barley production rose 23.9% to 10.4 million tonnes in 2019, offsetting record low carry-in stocks and pushing total stocks higher.

Oats
Nationally, stocks of oats rose 11.0% year over year to 2.7 million tonnes as of December 31, 2019. Both on-farm stocks (+9.0%) and commercial stocks (+30.9%) contributed to the increase.

Dry peas and lentils
Stocks of dry peas rose 3.2% year over year to 2.6 million tonnes as of December 31, 2019. On-farm stocks (up 8.0% to 2.4 million tonnes) were responsible for the increase, which offset a 26.7% decrease in commercial stocks.

Meanwhile, stocks of lentils were down 14.9%. On-farm stocks decreased 14.3% to 1.6 million tonnes, while commercial stocks fell 19.9% to 180 700 tonnes.

The decline in the total stocks of lentils was attributable to lower carry-in stocks (-27.7%), higher exports (+18.6%) and greater domestic disappearance (+39.6%).

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