Canada’s canola shipments are going to have to go some to reach their target.

With one-third of the country’s 2022-23 marketing year done, GrainPriceNews has tested the pace of shipments against that of previous seasons. (Although 2021-22 are being ignored, given the extent of drought damage to Canada’s harvest.)

The results are more reassuring for wheat shipments than canola ones.

Durum on track

For durum wheat, exports averaging a little under 87,000 tonnes so far are as bit under the pace required to meet the 5.00m tonnes of shipments that the AAFC farm ministry expects for the whole season.

But not by much. The lag of 10% is within the normal boundaries. (It is very nearly the same, for instance, as that seen at the same period of 2017-18.)

Besides, the pace has picked up markedly of late. The 193,500 tonnes shipped in the latest week was the sixth time in seven weeks that volumes have exceeded 100,000 tonnes, far exceeding the rate needed to meet the AAFC target.

Wheat upgrade ahead?

For other wheat, including the country’s important spring wheat crop, shipments could be on course to beat the ministry forecast.

While the pace of exports typically shows a small lag at this time of year to the full-season total, it is this season, at 377,000 tonnes per week, running 6% ahead.

Just keeping up the current rate of advantage would suggest an extra 1m tonnes of shipments, on top of the 18.5m tonnes that ministry expects.

And there is scope for further still, considering that the pace usually picks up later in the season.

Slow canola

For canola, however, the 19% lag in the pace of shipments so far, compared with the rate needed to meet the AAFC forecast of 10.0m tonnes, is an outlier.

In fact, unlike wheat, canola exports are often front-end loaded, running early in the season ahead of the pace, as at this stage of 2018-19 and of 2020-21.

The five-year average (2016-17 to 2020-21) would suggest exports falling 2m tonnes short of the level that the ministry expects.

At least the recent underperformance of canola prices may go some way to encouraging demand and closing the gap.