Oat futures jumped to their highest level since 2008 last week, hitting $4.6725 a bushel. This is the first time it’s traded at a premium against corn since 2002. The rise in oat prices, which have climbed 35% since early January, is due to the ongoing logistical struggles facing the north-south grain transportation.
Emerging Ag has been working with the Prairie Oat Growers Association to get attention on the unique challenges facing movement south to the US. A record grain crop in Canada, has been taxing the capacity of the handling and rail systems. Estimated shipping demand is as much as 50% higher and much of the focus has been on movement to West Coast ports in this high-pressure situation. The impact on oat shipments to the US (approximately 95% of the shipments) has been serious and is affecting prices. Agriculture Minister Ritz has been working with industry leaders to address the problem, and made this announcement last week. POGA is also working with millers, handlers and the railways to look at long-term solutions.