CWB aims to pool a third of Western Canada grains

Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:48pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - The Canadian Wheat Board, now known as CWB, aims to buy one-third or more of western Canada's wheat and barley through pricing pools for the upcoming 2012/13 crop year, Chief Executive Ian White said on Monday, as competition starts to transform the fertile region's grain industry.

CWB will lose its western grain-marketing monopoly over those grains on August 1 under a new Canadian law, leaving it to compete on the open market for farmers' crops.

AWB, the former Australian Wheat Board, now owned by Cargill CARG.UL, handles 24-30 percent of Australia's grains in the open market and the CWB hopes to top that share, White said.

The CWB currently offers the only wheat and barley pricing pools -- which average out prices over a period of time -- in western Canada.

"Farmers will determine what they want to do but we think that as part of their risk management to put one-third or more of their grain into a pool would be a very good idea," White said on the sidelines of a Canada Grains Council conference in Winnipeg.

"We think a lot of farmers will want to put a lot more than that in," he said.

Last year, western Canada produced 22.7 million tonnes of wheat, including 17.8 million tonnes of spring wheat and 4.2 million tonnes of durum, as well as 7.3 million tonnes of barley, according to Statistics Canada.

Canada is the biggest exporter of spring wheat and durum, both of which fall under the CWB's monopoly.   Continued...