UPDATE 1-W.Canada grain sales going smoothly after monopoly - Cargill
* Importers able to fill wheat needs
* Cargill comfortable as No.3 west Canada grain handler
By Rod Nickel
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, Jan 30 (Reuters) - Grain sales and movement across western Canada have gone smoothly in the first year after the region's grain-marketing monopoly ended, Cargill Ltd president Len Penner said on Wednesday.
The Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly expired on Aug. 1, allowing farmers to sell their grain to any buyer for the first time in 69 years.
Cargill, the third-largest western Canadian grain handler after Viterra and Richardson International Ltd, has seen few glitches in the newly opened market, Penner said on the sidelines of a hog conference in Winnipeg.
"Everyone has stepped up and it's largely been business as usual. Customers that are looking for Canadian wheat are getting Canadian wheat."
Grain movement from the vast western Prairies to ports has also been smooth, he said.
Canada is the sixth-largest wheat grower in the world. Cargill Ltd is the Canadian arm of U.S.-based agribusiness giant Cargill Inc. Continued...