MarketsFarm 2024 Spring Market report looks promising if we get timely rains throughout the growing season.

The Director of Markets and Weather says we're hitting a record pace for Canadian wheat exports.

Bruce Burnett says wheat exports are our one bright spot with exports hitting 13.5 million tonnes, demand is expected to remain strong through most of this crop year with tight supplies in the prairies.

"My current forecast for carryout in 2023-24 (this current crop year) is about 2.5 million tonnes, which is extremely tight.  We may not be able to get to those levels, but if the export pace continues as it is, we are definitely going to exceed last year's export forecast."

He notes that Canadian durum exports are not as strong as they have been, due to strong competition in the Mediterranean basin mainly from Turkey.

"That's basically reduced the demand for Canada and it's led to some lower exports than expected and that's causing the prices to come down.  Surprisingly, this winter/early spring in North Africa has been fairly much the same as it has been for the last few years they've been in drought. My current projections are for a crop of just over 4 million tons 4.1 million tons out of the three major durum producing areas."

According to Burnett, the big difference is that Algerian production is expected to recover a little bit, Tunisian production will recover a bit, while Morocco is expected to have another short crop this year, coming in under 1,000,000 tonnes.

When it comes to Canadian production, Burnett thinks we could have a crop similar to last year if not lower, if we don't get timely rains across the prairies.

Here at home, durum production has been slipping with the increased competition.

He notes while we've seen some movement into the U.S. our Italian exports are down by 68 per cent from last year at this time.

Overall, Burnett feels wheat acreage this year is expected to be down, with a slight increase in the area seeded to durum, with the key being will we see timely rains.