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Stocks of principal field crops, March 31, 2021

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Released: 2021-05-07

Stocks of wheat, canola, barley, soybeans, dry peas, oats and lentils were all down on March 31 compared with the same day a year earlier, on record exports. Stocks of corn for grain rose. Increased global demand has translated into higher exports for most field crops during the COVID-19 pandemic, while the pandemic continues to contribute to uncertainty in both the global and Canadian grain markets. Export demand was led by China, which has been actively purchasing grain worldwide, and was the main driver behind higher Canadian exports for most principal field crops. Canadian railways continued to move grain at record levels for the first eight months of the crop year, likely partly because of increased capacity as a result of lower movements of petroleum products by rail.

Wheat stocks lower on record exports

Stocks of total wheat fell 13.6% year over year to 16.2 million tonnes as of March 31. Both on-farm (-14.3%) and commercial (-11.2%) stocks contributed to the overall decline. Stocks of wheat excluding durum were down 12.9% to 13.5 million tonnes, while durum wheat stocks fell 16.7% to 2.8 million tonnes.

Nationally, deliveries of wheat rose 19.3% to 22.6 million tonnes. Exports of wheat rose 28.9% to a record 17.8 million tonnes, 2.3 million tonnes higher than the previous record set in March 2019. Exports of wheat excluding durum were largely driven by China, whose imports of Canadian wheat almost quadrupled as demand for feed in that country remained high.

Domestic use of wheat increased 5.5% on higher demand for animal feed, which rose 11.0% to 4.2 million tonnes.

Canola stocks decrease to lowest level since 2013

Total stocks of canola fell 37.7% to 6.6 million tonnes as of March 31, the lowest level since 2013, because of a 47.1% decline in on-farm stocks to 4.8 million tonnes. Commercial stocks rose 19.1% to 1.8 million tonnes.

Deliveries of canola increased 14.2% to 15.5 million tonnes year over year, while domestic canola use rose 0.7% to 7.4 million tonnes as canola crushing remained strong.

Exports were up 27.2% to a record 8.0 million tonnes. China imported more than 1.8 million tonnes (+61.9%) of canola, while exports to the European Union also rose.

Higher opening supplies drive corn for grain stocks up

Stocks of corn for grain increased 1.9% to 8.1 million tonnes as of March 31. On-farm stocks decreased 3.1% to 5.3 million tonnes, while commercial stocks rose 13.1% to 2.8 million tonnes.

Higher opening stocks for the crop year offset a year-over-year increase in exports.

Higher exports push soybean stocks lower

Stocks of soybeans decreased 30.3% to 2.0 million tonnes as of March 31. On-farm stocks fell 37.4% to 1.1 million tonnes, while commercial stocks decreased 19.8% to 905 300 tonnes.

Lower year-over-year stocks were largely attributable to higher exports, which rose 45.8% to 3.8 million tonnes. Exports to China were seven times higher than in the previous year, while exports to Algeria were more than four times higher, rising to 318 000 tonnes.

Barley and oat stocks fall

Barley stocks fell 20.5% to 2.8 million tonnes as of March 31, driven by a 29.4% decline in on-farm stocks to 2.2 million tonnes. Commercial stocks rose 51.0% to 590 200 tonnes.

Off-farm deliveries increased 36.0% to 4.2 million tonnes, pushing on-farm stocks lower. The volume of barley used for domestic purposes, largely animal feed, rose 6.1% to 6.1 million tonnes. Exports rose 48.7% to 2.9 million tonnes, with over 90% going to China, up from 71% one year earlier. Exports to all countries as of March 31, 2021, equalled total exports for the entire previous crop year.

Oat stocks edged down 0.1% to 1.8 million tonnes. On-farm stocks rose 1.9% to 1.5 million tonnes, while commercial stocks fell 8.4% to 338 500 tonnes.

Despite higher total supplies on March 31, 2021 (+8.2%), stocks fell year over year as domestic use of oats increased 5.3%, while exports rose 18.3% to 2.1 million tonnes.

Stocks of dry peas and lentils lower as deliveries increase

Stocks of dry peas fell 1.7% to 1.9 million tonnes as of March 31. On-farm stocks drove the decrease, falling 2.1% year over year, while commercial stocks remained flat.

Opening stocks of dry peas for the crop year were down 25.3%, while exports rose 10.4% (correction).

Lentil stocks declined 14.4% to 1.4 million tonnes as on-farm stocks fell 16.4%, while commercial stocks rose 3.4%.

Lentil exports increased 3.1% year over year.

  Note to readers

Data on stocks of principal field crops held on farms come from the March Farm Survey of about 11,500 Canadian farmers conducted from March 1, 2021, to March 29, 2021. The 2021 Field Crop Survey – March also asked two questions pertaining to permanent on-farm grain storage capacity and the percentage of grain stored on farms using temporary storage methods. These data are available upon request.

Data on commercial stocks of western major crops originate from the Canadian Grain Commission. Data on commercial stocks of special crops originate from a survey of handlers and agents of special crops.

National supply-disposition tables for the major grains and special crops are published jointly with the current release on stock levels and are available as online data tables 32-10-0013-01 and 32-10-0015-01.

Stock data are subject to revision during the two years following their initial publication.

Readers are invited to visit the Agriculture and food statistics portal for more data related to agriculture and food published by Statistics Canada.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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