News Releases

04
Dec 2014

Sask Wheat agrees with government decision to extend railway volume requirements

December 4, 2014 – Saskatoon, SK The Federal Government’s decision to extend minimum volume requirements for grain movement by rail comes as welcome news to the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission (Sask Wheat), which has been working with other farm organizations to ensure producers have a voice at a national level when it comes to issues in the transportation and grain handling system.

“We are pleased to see the government’s continued pressure for adequate capacity in grain handling and grain transportation in Canada,” says Bill Gehl, Sask Wheat Board Chair. “However, capacity constraints still exist and better solutions are needed to ensure Saskatchewan wheat producers’ interests are protected and that customer demand is being met in all corridors.”

Minimum volume requirements have helped improve timelines for west and east coast shipments from Canada. Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced last week new requirements would be in effect until March 2015, and penalties will be issued for non-compliance. However, despite these improvements, Western grain producers are still facing significant challenges and consequential costs. According to a study commissioned by Sask Wheat, capacity shortfalls in the transportation and handling system cost Western grain producers an estimated $3.1 billion in 2013/14 and are on pace to cost an additional $2 billion in 2014/15. These losses are primarily due to an extraordinarily wide gap between export prices and the prices paid to producers, whenever export capacity is constrained. Currently the export basis is $40/tonne more than the historical cost of getting producers’ grain to export positions. If this continues through the remainder of the year it will be a tremendous economic loss for Saskatchewan and for prairie grain producers.

“When we start talking about losses in the billions, it is clear that grain producers are uniquely and significantly affected by these issues,” Gehl says. “We’re not asking for special treatment, just for fair and effective measures to be put in place, and we want to continue to work with the government to ensure Saskatchewan wheat producers’ concerns and interests are being heard at a national level.”

Western Canada is estimated to have the second largest exportable supply of total grains and oilseeds in recent history in 2014/15. “Our producers are growing some of the best grain products in the world, and yet they are being charged an excess basis to ship their products to the markets that want them,” Gehl says. “We just want to ensure that we can efficiently get these products everywhere there’s demand for them.”

For more information, contact:
Bill Gehl Board Chair
Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission
306-537-3899
wfgehl@hotmail.com

Delaney Seiferling
Manager, Communications and Marketing
Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission
306-321-7533
Delaney.seiferling@saskwheatcommission.com

Read More

Latest Research

Development of a highly sensitive, specific and rapid detection system for stripe rust spores in the field

This research aims to develop a detection system that is based on presence and quantity of the spores rather than on presence of symptoms, so that producers may implement control measures earlier.

view all