TORONTO — A delayed grain crop is causing headaches for railways, elevator operators and farmers following a dry spring and wet summer.
Grain carloads at the two major Canadian rail companies are down 11 per cent so far in the quarter ending Sept. 30.
John Brooks, head of marketing at Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. — where grain revenues make up nearly one-third of annual revenues — told an investor conference that harvests are up to 30 per cent below the average this time of year but that he remains “bullish” on pushing the product to market over the next few months.
Wade Sobkowich, head of the Western Grain Elevator Association, says the wet Prairie weather will likely produce a crop with more mildew, sprout damage and frost, which will make it “challenging” to mill the grain and boost profit margins, despite an expected one per cent rise in overall harvest volume.
Sobkowich says farmers are under a lot of stress to get grain off the fields, a feat that will require more co-operative weather.
CP Rail framed the harvest woes as a “timing issue,” though persistent rain could dampen the quality of the output as well as export volumes.
Companies in this story: (TSX:CP)