Canada’s Capacity Ready to Handle Record 2022 Harvest

Rejeana Gvillo

Oct. 12, 2022

Canada is poised for a massive harvest this year, especially compared with the drought-reduced crop of 2021. 

Throughout the growing season, FBN® Research has been assessing whether Canada’s rail system and broader infrastructure will be prepared to handle a record crop. Based on previous capacity volumes for key grain crops including wheat, barley, canola, corn, oats, peas, flaxseed, soybeans and more, we are confident the country can handle a bin-busting record harvest.

What if yields are max potential vs. history?

To begin our analysis, we looked at planted area for 2022 compared to 2016 and 2020. In 2022, planted area for the aforementioned crops is higher. 

Next, to gauge what total harvested area could be, we applied the average harvest percent in 2016 through 2020 by crop to 2022’s planted area. By taking the maximum yield recorded across history for those crops and applying that to the 2022 forecast harvested area, we projected a production total.  

Based on those assumptions, we estimated a major grain production total of about 4 billion bushels; this is marginally larger than both the 2016 and 2020 totals. Assuming all of these crops hit the previous record yield, the total production outlook would not be at a volume that causes concerns about testing Canadian storage infrastructure. 

Can growers handle record-breaking harvest delivery and storage?

If farmers are facing a four billion bushel crop, can the crop be managed by storage and delivery? 

Let’s first look at storage. The maximum stocks volume reported for commercial and farm was in December 2019 at around 72 MMT.  Let’s assume we export an average of 5 MMT each month between August and December for a total of 25 MMT.

Now, let’s assume we use around 25 MMT of grain over the course of those months as well (domestic use has exceeded 24 MMT between August and December in 2016, 2019, 2020, and 2021). This means 72 MMT of capacity + 25 MMT of exports + 25 MMT of use could be handled around harvest time. 

That translates to the need to handle 122 MMT of grain at harvest + roll over stocks.   

But, even at 122 MMT (using 36.7437 pounds/bushel as a generic conversion) gives us a capacity minimum of about 4.5+ billion bushels — which is well off the 2022 projected total and gives us room for rollover stocks (which are light this year).  At this point, even with a 4 billion bushel or so crop, we believe Canada’s infrastructure can handle the anticipated record harvest. 

What does this mean for Canadian farmers? 

While Canada is expected to harvest a hefty crop, we are not overly concerned about that crop testing existing infrastructure. With light rollover stocks, storage use right now is probably at one of its lowest totals in years. We also anticipate a surge in exports as harvest season gains momentum.

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The material provided is for educational purposes only and may contain forward-looking statements based on the beliefs of the authors as well as assumptions, expectations and projections made by and information currently available to them. Actual results may vary. Neither Farmer's Business Network Canada, Inc. nor any of its affiliates makes any representations or warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy or completeness of the statements or any information contained in the material and any liability therefore is expressly disclaimed.

Rejeana Gvillo

Oct. 12, 2022

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