Grain Marketing Insights

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Grain Marketing Insights is provided monthly by LeftField Commodity Research.

January 2023


  • Canadian flax exports have totaled only 44,000 tonnes through the first four months of 2022/23, well below last year and the average pace. The U.S. is the only sizable destination, taking 34,000 tonnes.
  • The USDA pegged the 2022 U.S. flax crop at 109,000 tonnes with a below average yield of 17.6 bu/acre. That’s 58 per cent larger than 2021 but well below the pre-drought average of 144,000 tonnes.
  • As Canadian flax prices decline, they’re getting closer to being competitive in China and the EU but are still above Russian and Kazakh prices.
  • China continues to import flax at a record pace to make up for its smaller domestic crop, but nearly all the flax is coming from Russia and Kazakhstan.
  • Elevator bids for flax in Canada and the U.S. are continuing to drift slightly lower on limited demand.


  • USDA reported Dec. 1 corn stocks in the U.S. at 10.8 billion bushels, the lowest in nine years.
  • The size of the U.S. crop was adjusted 200 million bushels lower by USDA to 13.73 billion bushels, compared to 15.1 billion bushels in 2021. A smaller harvested area more than offset a bump in yield.
  • Statistics Canada (StatsCan) reported 233,948 tonnes of Canadian exports in November, a record for the month. Essentially all moves from eastern Canada, with Europe a key destination.
  • Corn imports into western Canada were 124,283 tonnes in November, the most in three months, but far below what was typical last season. Volumes may increase somewhat in winter and spring.
  • Drought in Argentina is reducing estimates for the size of their corn crop, but this could be more than offset by a big harvest in Brazil. Combined production may still be a record.
  • China’s corn imports dropped significantly in October and November. Expectations are still for them to be a sizeable buyer, but those forecasts are at risk if volumes don’t improve.
  • Corn prices have been trading in a range at a relatively high level. That trend may continue until attention starts to shift more intently on 2023 production.


  • Once the 2022 harvest was available, Canadian barley exports have been strong totaling 1.28 million tonnes so far in 2022/23. China is the dominant buyer, while the U.S. accounts for 10 per cent of exports.
  • Chinese barley imports in 2022 have been less than half of the 2021 pace, in part because many of its typical suppliers have very low supplies.
  • Based on solid but not huge export and domestic use forecasts, Canadian barley ending stocks for 2022/23 will recover slightly but remain close to historic lows.
  • There have been suggestions in the Australian press that China might remove its 80 per cent import tariff on Australian barley. If so, it could displace some demand for Canadian barley.
  • Domestic supplies of feed barley have been supplemented by wheat, oats and imported corn.
  • Old-crop bids for feed and malt barley have been holding up well and new-crop bids are starting the season at historically high levels.


  • According to the USDA, strong yields and increased acreage resulted in a 2022 U.S. sunflower crop of 2.8 billion pounds or 1.275 million tonnes, 48 per cent more than 2021. Oil sunflower production was up 48 per cent while the non-oil crop was 44 per cent larger than last year.
  • Canadian exports of sunflowers were quite modest in November at 2,200 tonnes, well below last year and the average for the month.
  • U.S. sunflower crush improved to an estimated 51,500 tonnes in November, back up to the 2021/22 level but lower than 2020/21.
  • Sunflower production in Ukraine is reduced by the ongoing war. Exports of oil are sharply lower due to damaged infrastructure but seed exports to the EU are higher in response.
  • Bids in the U.S. for NuSun and HO Sun sunflowers are still edging slightly lower while black birdseed types are moving a bit higher.


  • Canada has been exporting large volumes of non-durum wheat. CGC reported 8.6 million tonnes of shipments for the crop year as of week 23, compared to 5.2 million tonnes at this point last year.
  • USDA reported Dec. 1 U.S. wheat stocks at 1.28 billion bushels, the lowest in 15 years.
  • U.S. winter wheat acres for 2023 are estimated at 36.95 million, the most in eight years. However, much of the crop went into dormancy in very poor condition, which creates uncertainty over final production.
  • China has been a strong buyer of wheat, importing another one million tonnes in November. Canada has been a key supplier, shipping nearly half of their purchases for the month.
  • World wheat markets have been drifting lower over the past few months, weighed down by aggressive exports out of Russia and the large Australian harvest. Global stocks are tight across the major exporters overall, which could eventually be supportive for values.
  • Western Canadian wheat prices have been helped by improving basis levels, which are partially driven by good export demand. Feed wheat prices have been relatively strong, even if below the previous peak.

January 2023 - Download PDF

Grain Marketing Insights is not intended to provide marketing recommendations. Manitoba Crop Alliance and LeftField are not liable for any decisions made based on this information.

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