Canadian corn exports to drought-hit U.S. seen reaching 1 mln T

Tue Mar 19, 2013 12:49pm EDT
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* Ontario got timely rain, produced record crop

* Corn shipments seen rising ahead of Great Lakes season

By Rod Nickel and Karl Plume

WINNIPEG, Manitoba/CHICAGO, March 19 (Reuters) - Canadian corn is flowing to U.S. ethanol plants and feed suppliers in larger than usual volumes, with up to 1 million tonnes expected in 2012/13, as a large Ontario crop backfills demand after last year's severe U.S. drought.

Canada is normally a net importer of corn, feeding Eastern Canada's pigs and poultry and supplying Ontario ethanol plants. But the worst U.S. drought in more than 50 years has forced corn buyers to look north.

"Ontario had not a lot of rain last year, but it was timed almost perfectly so we had the biggest corn crop in history in Ontario in 2012," said Steve Kell, grain merchant at Parrish & Heimbecker (P&H). "It's just a natural redistribution. And it's moving."

Ontario accounted for about two-thirds of Canada's 13.1 million tonne corn harvest.

Kell expects more than 1 million tonnes of Ontario corn to move into the United States in 2012/13, and maybe more if there are U.S. corn planting delays.

That would be the second-biggest Canadian corn export program on record, after nearly 1.7 million tonnes were shipped two years earlier following a poor coarse grain harvest in Europe.   Continued...