Huge Increase in Grain Production in Western Canada Since 2001 is Now a New Normal
This year, the total grain supply in Western Canada, including production and carry-over, is about 80 million tons. This is a 60 percent increase over the 50 million that was recorded in 2001.
For eight years between 2004 and 2012 total grain supply in Western Canada averaged 60 million tons, but in 2013/2014 supplies were more than 80 million tons after a record harvest. For the next six years, supplies never retreated, maintaining at an average of 79.1 million tons - and what was thought an anomaly, became a new normal. Furthermore, grain production is expected to continue to climb by 2.5 to three percent per year.
Of this total production, about 25 percent is exported, and over the past 17 years, the U.S. has become a much bigger buyer of Canadian grain - buying 10.5 million tons today, compared to about two million tons in 2001. This biggest increase occurred in 2012 upon the elimination of the Canadian Wheat Board, and has aligned with higher levels of U.S. ethanol and Canadian canola oil and meal production.
Along with greater grain production, Western Canada has seen greater containerized shipping, grain handling, and terminal capacity.