Canadian corn imports at historic high

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Corn imports to Canada in November last year hit its first monthly high since at least the 2011-12 marketing year, amid reduced and costlier domestic feed grain supply.

Canada imported 575,295t of corn in November 2021, up from 258,140t in October and 101,015t a year earlier, customs data show. This was more than double the previous record of 266,427t in April 2019.

Corn imports were supplied almost exclusively by the US, with about 575,240t having been received from the origin country during the period. The US traditionally acts as an exclusive supplier of corn to Canada, having shipped 2.22mn t of product in 2020-21 — 99.8pc of the country’s total imports.

Canada stepped up corn imports after September, amid a poor domestic harvest of wheat and barley for animal feed purposes following exceptionally dry and hot conditions in the summer. The same weather conditions also boosted the protein content of Canada’s wheat crop, making it more suitable for milling and less so for animal feed.

Canadian soft wheat output totalled 19mn t this marketing year, which runs August to July. This is down from 25.84mn t in the 2020-21 marketing year and long-term averages, according to government statistics agency StatCan.

Unfavourable weather also weighed on barley production, which fell to 6.9mn t this marketing year from 10.74mn t in 2020-21, further reducing feed grain availability.

Meanwhile, falling hog and cattle slaughter rates in British Columbia in October-November 2021 following heavy rainfall further raised Canada’s feed grain requirements at the time.

Canada is now the fifth-largest importer of US corn so far this season, behind Mexico, Japan, China and Colombia. Higher purchasing commitments suggest shipments to Canada in the coming weeks could outpace those to Colombia.

 

Argus Media

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