The results of Statistics Canada's tri-annual supply and disposition exercise indicate that stocks of wheat, oats, dry peas and lentils were all up as of July 31 compared with the same date a year earlier, while canola and barley stocks were down, largely due to higher exports as global demand for Canadian grain remained high.

Jon Driedger is vice president at LeftField Commodity Research.

"The numbers came in a little higher I think than folks were expecting in terms of at least what StatsCan reported. Obviously everyone knows how high prices have been, how tight the market has been. With that, I think most analysts were looking for maybe some smaller stocks numbers at least in terms of the official data. StatsCan did come in a little bit higher. In some cases not dramatically, for example, in something like wheat and oats, a couple of those crops, the cereals, a little on the higher side."

Total stocks of canola decreased 48.6% to 1.8 million tonnes, their lowest level since July 2017.

"That is a number that was substantially above what the market was looking for," said Driedger. "Down quite a bit from last year, but still much higher than folks were thinking. We all know how high canola prices have been. We know buyers have been aggressively trying to get canola out of farmers bins. According to StatsCan, they would suggest there's more canola on-farm at the end of July than I think is likely, so that number is maybe a little overstated."

The full report can be viewed below:

Stocks of principal field crops, July 31, 2021

Wheat stocks higher despite increased exports

Total stocks of wheat increased 3.7% year over year to 5.7 million tonnes as of July 31, largely on higher opening supplies (+4.6% to 40.8 million tonnes). The increase was led by higher commercial stocks (+7.1% to 3.5 million tonnes), which more than offset lower on-farm stocks (-1.3% to 2.2 million tonnes). The increase in total wheat stocks was driven by wheat excluding durum (+4.0% to 5.0 million tonnes), while durum wheat stocks rose 2.0% to 751 500 tonnes.

Deliveries of wheat rose 5.8% year over year to a record high 31.7 million tonnes as of July 31, contributing to the decrease in on-farm stocks. Exports increased 10.1% to 26.4 million tonnes on strong global demand, particularly from China.

Canola stocks lower as crushing hits record high

Total stocks of canola decreased 48.6% to 1.8 million tonnes, their lowest level since July 2017. The decrease was a result of lower on-farm stocks, which fell 50.3% to 1.1 million tonnes. Moreover, commercial stocks fell 45.6% to 704 000 tonnes.

Lower supply of canola for the 2020/2021 crop year (-6.0% to 23.0 million tonnes), coupled with high demand, drove stocks lower. Deliveries of canola fell 2.3% to 20.2 million tonnes, but remained above the average of the last five years. Canola crushing increased 2.8% to a record 10.4 million tonnes as world demand for vegetable oils remained high.

Exports of canola rose 4.9% to 10.5 million tonnes, as a result of strong global demand. This increase was largely due to higher exports to China, which rose by approximately one-third year over year.

Dry pea and lentil stocks rise as exports decrease

Total stocks of dry peas more than doubled (+105.6%) year over year to 478 500 tonnes as of July 31. Both on-farm (+120.8% to 212 000 tonnes) and commercial (+94.9% to 266 500 tonnes) stocks were up. Higher year-over-year opening supplies contributed to the increase in total ending stocks, offsetting a 23.6% increase in domestic use to 851 600 tonnes. Exports fell 3.5% to 3.6 million tonnes, due largely to lower shipments to major trading partners such as Bangladesh and India. This drop offset the increased demand from China.

Stocks of lentils totalled 405 600 tonnes as of July 31, up 94.3% from the same date one year earlier as both on-farm (+98.0% to 299 000 tonnes) and commercial (+84.5% to 106 600 tonnes) stocks rose. A decline in exports (-15.0% to 2.3 million tonnes) contributed to higher total stocks and was largely the result of lower exports to most of Canada's major lentil importers, including India, Bangladesh and Turkey.

Barley stocks reach record low while exports climb

Barley stocks were at their lowest level on record as of July 31, down 25.7% from the previous crop year to 711 100 tonnes. The decrease was attributable to both lower on-farm (-19.9% to 551 300 tonnes) and commercial (-40.5% to 159 800 tonnes) stocks.

Deliveries of barley off-farm increased 17.4% to 5.1 million tonnes, contributing to the decrease in on-farm stocks. Barley exports were up 54.8% year over year to 4.6 million tonnes, with more than 90% destined for China. Barley used for feed fell 10.6% year over year to 6.1 million tonnes as of July 31.

Oat stocks up as domestic use falls

Total stocks of oats were up 54.7% year over year to 658 500 tonnes as of July 31, driven by higher commercial (+41.3% to 307 900 tonnes) and on-farm (+68.8% to 350 600 tonnes) stocks.

Lower domestic use coupled with higher opening supplies resulted in an increase in total oat stocks compared with the same date a year earlier. Oat exports rose 12.2% to 2.9 million tonnes, surpassing 2008 as the highest year on record.