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Manitoba grain farmers enjoying recent surge in prices

Manitoba grain producers are hopeful a surge in prices for their crops continues well into the new year. Dylan Williamson / Submitted

While nearly all Manitobans are hoping for a more positive 2021 than the year we just left behind, that dream has quickly become reality for the province’s grain farmers.

Prices for their crops have skyrocketed over the past few weeks, due to short supply — leaving those with some crop left in their bins able to sell it at a premium price.

Wheat and corn are seeing a huge resurgence, with prices trading over US$6.60 and US$5.30 on Friday.

Wheat has seen a gain of 17 per cent since the second week of December.

Meanwhile, futures for some crops such as wheat have seen increases of over 200 per cent in just a few weeks, according to Farm Credit Canada.

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“It’s great news,” St. Andrews, Man., farmer Curtis McRae explains. “We didn’t have the best of harvests, yields were a little bit lower, so these prices put us back up to average.”

January has been the best month to sell grains like wheat in Canada since 2013 when a record crop sent prices over $9 a bushel.

It’s a trend duplicated across nearly all of Manitoba’s major grain exports — soybeans, canola, and oats have all seen large gains.

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“One of the parts of our business is selling seed to farmers,” Wawanesa-area farmer Simon Ellis tells 680 CJOB. “The optimism they’ve had is great. It’s a breath of fresh air, after a harvest like 2019’s.”

Market-watchers are predicting large economic growth across the globe in 2021 with experts optimistic most parts of the world will begin returning to normal as vaccines take hold of the coronavirus pandemic.

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That has producers in the province hopeful they will be part of that renaissance and watch exports return to 2018 levels when Manitoba exported $2.9 billion in sales of wheat, canola and soybean products.

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“Mid-February is when the next harvest from an exporting country happens, in Brazil, so that might affect (soybean) prices a little bit,” McRae says. “But if you have some grain left in your bins, now’s the time to enjoy the price jump.”

It’s something Manitoba’s farmers are used to keeping an eye on at this time of year.

“We’re constantly checking the quality of grain that’s been stored for later sale, whether we’re taking a load out to check temperature, moisture, or if there are any bugs in it,” Ellis explains.

Ellis says otherwise, farmers are getting their equipment and bodies ready for another sprint to the finish in the 2021 growing season.

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“It’s amazing what I can break from time to time,” he laughs. “We try to innovate and find ways to make things run smoother while we’re fixing it.”

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“This fall, I broke myself too, so now a lot of time is going into repairing myself, sometimes it’s not as easy as a combine,” McRae adds.

Both producers are hoping everything on the farm is in working order in time for what they hope to be a prosperous new year.

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