Canadian farmers are looking at a record wheat crop this year but finding buyers for all that grain will be a challenge, says an executive at Richardson International.
Richardson vice-president of marketing Brent Watchorn said the sheer size of this year’s crop, combined with lower than expected protein levels, could pose a challenge for marketers.
And the likelihood of additional downgrades caused by recent rains across the West won’t help.
“There are customers today that would like a higher protein than what we are willing to offer,” Watchorn said.
Canadian wheat production could reach a record 33 million tonnes this year, according to Statistics Canada.
But quality is variable and early samples suggest average protein could be as much as one percent below normal.
Traditionally, foreign customers have bought high protein Canadian wheat and blended it with lower quality grain from other countries.
But the lower protein in this year’s Canadian crop might force some buyers to look at other options.
Some buyers might use Canadian wheat as an unblended milling product.
But others might look elsewhere for top grades of milling wheat and use Canadian grain as the lower blending component.
Either way, top grades of high protein Canadian wheat will be relatively scarce this year and any supplies that do exist will be difficult to source and segregate.
“There might be small areas that have (high protein wheat) but then you’re into the challenges of how do you make sure you’re the one that buys all that high quality grain and (can you provide) it to a customer to hit a specific sale.”
Watchorn said protein premiums are becoming more common and price spreads for top quality grain are likely to widen.
“I think we’ve already started to see that in the last couple of weeks,” he said.