More than 750 signal and communications employees at CN rail are on strike. The International brotherhood of electrical workers walked out recently, and federal mediation has ended. Grain movement may not be affected according to David Nobbs, Director of Special Crop Trading at Purely Canada.
"It seems like someone is always on strike in the rail industry. You don't know what part of the system is going on strike next. It appears the CN is saying that it's all systems go ahead as normal. This is communications and switching and it would appear that they have internal management play to reduce the risk of falling behind on their programs."
Nobbs, who also farms in the Lancer area mentioned that the greater risk to local farmers this year might be the fact that our lentil yield average for the province is expected to double.
"I think markets are are definitely shifting right now and and I think growers really got to watch that these pricing opportunities don't slip away. The war in Ukraine made some prices jump and things are sliding back to normal. If we double our production over last year, and that's the way it looks right now, that's the grower's risk right now more so than transportation."
Like most of the province Lancer got some rain recently. We asked Mr. Nobbs about how things are looking out there.
"Yeah, we got some some rain down at our farm at Lancer, so pretty excited about that. It was a bleak start but we're in the two to three inch range depending on the area. There's still a few growers that are still missing out, but those areas are getting kind of smaller and smaller I think. We started out horrifically dry. It reminding me of 2016. It was extremely dry that year on our farm, but we ended up getting 25 inches of rain that year. The most we'd ever seen. And I don't think we're headed for that, but it does feel like the weather is shifting again.
Farmers are reluctant to forward contract this year for obvious reasons. So a lot more grain has to be bought and sold in a shorter amount of time. Nobbs pointed to that as downward pressure on pricing, as well as the extra crop out there.
"You know one of the things I want to point out is that a lot of a lot of farmers say, well, you know this area or that area isn't doing well. For instance, we're looking for a 1200 lb/acre average crop. So somebody is going to have a 40 bushel crop and somebody is going to have zero bushels. So you know, people kind of get concerned about prices coming down when they're looking in their backyard, but we have to take an average across the province."
"I think prices are going to be high. Don't get me wrong, but I also think they're going to slip as we continue to grow the size of the crop. Some of these crops Canada controls the supply to the world. So what happens here really really matters. The number of seeded lentil acres is a very healthy number this year. I would say it's probably up a bit higher than what Stats Canada is saying."
Nobbs added that he wanted to wish all the farmers a safe July, and a good growing season.