By STEVE BINDER
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Canada ended the year with slightly lower inventories of wheat than it had the year before, according to data released last week by Statistics Canada.
The government agency reported as of Dec. 31, 2012, total wheat inventories came in at 20.69 million metric tons (mmts), down by about 1 mmt compared to the previous year-end total.
“That total is a bit below market expectations, and the driver in this case was obviously durum wheat,” said Brian Voth, a wheat specialist with Winnipeg, Manitoba-based Agri-Trends Marketing.
Stockpiles of durum wheat, used to make pastas, fell to about 3.83 mmts, a decrease of about 4.1 percent. Overall, though, Canada had a record-producing year for some grains, including all wheat and particularly corn, although the country doesn’t produce a significant amount of corn for grain compared to the United States.
While the total amount of wheat left as of Dec. 31 was down by about 0.7 percent, the country produced a record 27.2 mmts during the year.
Growers also produced the most corn, at 13.1 mmts for the year, and finished with a record 10.4 mmts in corn stockpiles, up by nearly 10 percent compared to year-end 2011.
“Thanks in part to better weather, corn yields were fantastic last year and it exceeded all expectations,” Voth said.
Statistics Canada also reported wheat stockpiles on farms rose 1.7 percent to 16.5 mmts, while commercial stocks fell 9.1 percent to 4.2 mmts. Again, less stored durum was the driver on the commercial side, Voth explained.
One of the surprises in the numbers, said Agri-Trends’ Wayne Palmer, is that canola stockpiles were significantly lower. “What we’ve seen is that canola is up $55 per ton just in the past three weeks,” he noted.
Canola stocks fell to a six-year low of 7.37 mmts, down 23.6 percent compared to year-end 2011. Production for the year was 13.3 mmts, down from 2011’s total of 14.6 mmts.
Also down was the production of oats, according to Statistics Canada. Oat production was down 15 percent for the year, with stocks at year-end down nearly 20 percent, at 1.9 mmts.
Barley and soybean production both were up, but stocks for both at year-end were lower, the agency reported. While barley production overall was up 1.5 percent for the year, the country ended the year with about 5.1 mmts, down 7.2 percent compared to Dec. 31, 2011.
Bean production was up 14.7 percent for the year, but stocks were down to 2.4 mmts, or 6.7 percent, by Dec. 31, 2012.