Tag Archives: grain

Grain transportation impacts local businesses

How have the grain transportation issues affected you? Please comment!

A simple drive down area grid roads will give you a good indication of the impact of the shortage in allocation of rail cars for grain. Even when still covered with snow or blending into the surrounding snowy landscape, long raised ridges reveal the presence of grain storage bags in many fields.

With bins still full from last year’s record crop, if farmers can’t make deliveries to terminals, they have nowhere else to put the grain.

North West Terminal CEO Jason Skinner said it was in December the rail car allocation began to drop. Comparing December 2013 to February 2014 with December 2012 to February 2012, the number of rail cars available has been “significantly” less.

North West Terminal, Unity, SKAs has been noted in numerous media reports on the issue, compounding the problem is the fact that demand to ship grain is high as a result of the record crops last year.

Skinner said the situation will definitely affect the bottom line for NWT. Like other grain companies, they are incurring demurrage costs and contract delay penalties. He also noted once shipping opportunities are lost, “you don’t get those back.”

The inability to deliver and sell grain affects cash flow for farmers and, with seeding time near and input bills coming up, the terminal gets many calls asking about the opportunity to deliver grain.

Senior editor Mark Szakonyi, based in Washington, D.C., covers railroads, U.S. transportation and trade policy, sourcing and ocean shipping for JOC.com. He reported NC president and CEO Claude Mongeau as describing the 2013-14 winter as “brutal and unusual.”

Mongeau also gave Szakonyi the following information on rail car issues in Canada: with extended cold periods over the winter, there was little opportunity for CN to make up delays; speeds had to be reduced by about 9 per cent; air brake systems malfunction in extreme cold, requiring trains to be shortened anywhere between 10 and 15 per cent.

With the railroads running shorter, slower trains, other businesses also have been affected. For example, Sifto Salt in Unity, SK, reports they have also been having trouble getting rail cars for shipping their bulk product.

How have the grain transportation issues affected you? Please comment!

Crop progress before the rain

With our area escaping the rain experienced during the September 24 to 30 period covered by the latest Crop Report from Saskatchewan Agriculture, we continued to be ahead of the rest of the province in harvest progress.

West-Central Saskatchewan (Crop Districts 6B – Hanley, Outlook, Loreburn, Saskatoon and Arelee areas; Crop District 7 – Rosetown, Kindersley, Eston, Major, Kerrobert, Macklin, Wilkie and Biggar areas)

The west-central region is the most advanced area of the province,  with 95 per cent of the crop combined and four per cent swathed or ready to straight-cut. Crop districts 7A and 7B recorded very little rain and so combines continued to roll in those areas. Rain ranged from nil to 62 mm (Hanley area). Spring wheat combined ranges from 90 to 100 per cent; oats 50 to 100 per cent; barley 40 100 per cent; canola 80 to 100 per cent and flax 10 to 100 per cent combined. Flax and canaryseed crops are being combined. Many farmers have completed harvest and others hope to finish within the week.

With some areas receiving very little rain, topsoil moisture conditions continue to deteriorate and are rated as 16 per cent adequate, 37 per cent short and 47 per cent very short on cropland. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture conditions are rated as 22 per cent adequate, 30 per cent short and 48 per cent very short. Many areas in the region have not received a significant rainfall in over a month. Crop districts 7A and 7B are reporting over 40 per cent of the cropland, hay land and pasture is very short of topsoil moisture. Crop and combine fires have been reported in many areas.

Pasture conditions are rated as three per cent excellent, 13 per cent good, 43 per cent fair, 28 per cent poor and 13 per cent very poor.

The majority of the crop damage was caused by strong winds (of up to 80 km per /hour) that damaged some swathed crops. Producers are busy finishing harvest, working fields and starting fall weed control.


Seventy-nine per cent of the 2013 crop is now combined, according to Saskatchewan Agriculture’s weekly Crop Report. Significant rainfall recorded last week slowed harvest progress in most areas of the province. Fifteen per cent is swathed or is ready to straight-cut. The five-year average (2008-2012) for this time of year is 74 per cent combined and 18 per cent swathed or ready to straight-cut.

Harvest progress is most advanced in the west-central region, where 95 per cent of the crop is combined. Seventy-two per cent is combined in the southeast; 85 per cent in the southwest; 68 per cent in the east-central region; 74 per cent in the northeast and 88 per cent in the northwest.

Rainfall throughout the province ranged from nil to 81 mm. Many areas received over 35 mm of rain, and heavy precipitation was reported in the southwestern, east-central and northeastern regions. Many areas in the southwestern, southeastern and east-central regions have been experiencing rain delays for a couple of weeks.

Across the province, topsoil moisture on cropland is rated as five per cent surplus, 65 per cent adequate, 19 per cent short and 11 per cent very short. Topsoil moisture on hay and pasture land is rated as two per cent surplus, 63 per cent adequate, 24 per cent short and 11 per cent very short.

Pasture conditions are rated as nine per cent excellent, 43 per cent good, 29 per cent fair, 16 per cent poor and three per cent very poor.

Rain and strong winds caused the majority of the crop damage. The rain has resulted in bleaching and sprouting of some cereal crops. Wind has caused some shattering losses in swathed canola and ripe crops.

Farmers are busy combining, hauling bales and completing fall weed control operations.


Saskatchewan Agriculture Crop Report

swathing canola

Saskatchewan Agriculture’s crop report for August 13 to 19, says “warm weather with very little rain interruptions over the past week has helped speed crop development.  Harvest operations have begun in many areas of the province.” The many areas include Unity as swaths were down in some of the canola fields nearby. The photo above was taken north-east of Unity, near Cloan, Aug. 20.

With reference to crop districts 6B and 7, West-Central Saskatchewan, the report reads as follows:

Warm weather has helped with crop maturity over the past several days. One per cent of peas have been combined in the region. Seven percent of canola, three per cent of mustard, 12 per cent of peas and nine per cent of lentils have been swathed or are ready to straight cut. Very little rain was recorded for the week ranging from nil to 7 mm (Perdue area). Most of the region has been missing the moisture that other areas have received over the past few weeks and soil conditions were very dry in some areas. Most crop reporters are indicating harvest operations are 10 days to two weeks behind normal compared to the last couple of years.

Topsoil moisture conditions are rated as one per cent surplus, 53 per cent adequate, 39 per cent short and seven per cent very short on cropland. Hay land and pasture topsoil moisture conditions are rated as one per cent surplus, 44 per cent adequate, 42 per cent short and 13 per cent very short. All crop districts in the region are reporting at least one third of the crop and hay land is short of topsoil moisture.

Very little crop damage was reported in the region. Dry conditions and bertha armyworms are causing the majority of crop stress. Producers are busy getting ready for harvest.

Saskatchewan Crop Report

hay bales, grain and canola

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture in its Crop Report August 1 said, province-wide, “Saskatchewan livestock producers … (have) 82 per cent of the 2013 hay crop cut and 60 per cent baled or put into silage” while 84 “per cent of spring wheat, 82 per cent of canola, 81 per cent of lentils and 88 per cent of peas are in good to excellent condition.”

Specific to west-central Saskatchewan, including Unity and Luseland, “Livestock producers have 90 per cent of the hay crop cut and 77 per cent baled or put into silage. Hay quality is rated as 15 per cent excellent, 80 per cent good and five per cent fair….Very little crop damage was reported in the region. Dry conditions and disease (smut, sclerotinia and ascochyta) are causing the majority of crop stress.”

To read the whole Crop Report, click here: http://www.agriculture.gov.sk.ca/crprpt130801