Tightening of Corn Supplies Expected

CANADA - The Manitoba Corn Growers Association says less than ideal growing conditions and a strong demand from the ethanol industry could put pressure on supplies of corn for feed for the livestock industry this fall, writes Bruce Cochrane.
calendar icon 8 August 2008
clock icon 3 minute read

Over the past six months the price of corn has been extremely volatile.

Since last October the price of corn in Manitoba has gone from about four dollars a bushel to a high of about seven dollars a bushel this spring, fueled in part by a strong demand for ethanol, before backing off again to the five dollar a bushel range.

A combination of factors has contributed to the recent easing of the value of corn including lower crude oil prices, a reduction in the value of the Canadian dollar, the normal seasonal price slide in anticipation of the start of the harvest and the withdrawal of speculators from the market.

Manitoba Corn Growers Association president Murray Prichard says demand patterns for corn are changing.

Murray Prichard-Manitoba Corn Growers Association

There was a large demand for ethanol in the U.S. which corn has been used for.

Oil prices as you know have been very high and corn has followed that. Our end uses here have changed.

In the last year or so, we've got an ethanol plant in Minnedossa which has been buying a fair amount of Manitoba corn as of lately.

We had a little bit of a switch from relying totally on the livestock industry to now an ethanol industry that's picking up demand for our corn here locally.

Prichard suspects there could be a shortage of corn in Manitoba this fall for livestock producers.

He notes, in the past, we had seen a lot of U.S. corn coming into Canada because of the value of the dollar but that has slowed. He notes, locally, the corn is behind this year and while some of that corn will make it, some won't.

He says it'll all depend on whether or not we have an open fall.

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