While many Canadian grain buyers and producers across Saskatchewan are having a hard time handling the backed up CN Railway, those lucky enough to be in the southeast corner of the province have had a significantly easier time.
Location has played a big factor in the shipping of grain for Estevan and area farmers. For most grain elevators in the area, they're run off one of the main CP Railway lines, as well as two privately owned lines, all shown below.
Besides the location of the rail lines, our proximity to the border has been helping southeast growers sell their grain as well.
"As luck would have it for us," says Kory Pick, who's farm is near Macoun. "...moving grain this winter hasn't been too bad simply because our durum didn't move through the local elevator system. It's actually been going down state side to North Dakota to the mill."
Because of Estevan's proximity to the U.S. border and the fact that Minot is only a short distance from the border and is also home to a flour mill, most of the wheat being hauled in the southeast corner is being loaded on to semis and taken over the border by highways, not by trains, easing some of the pressure being built up by the lack of movement on the rails.
"We've had steady movement with our grain all winter with the durum and such. Even with the canola is going straight up to their crushing plant up at Yorkton, so it's not relating to waiting for cars or room like that, it's contracted for this month and they send trucks that come pick it up. So we've been lucky that way ourselves."
While mills in the States and up north in Saskatchewan have helped pick up the slack for slower rails, Pick was sure to mention that just because it isn't hurting them now doesn't mean it can't in the future.
"Fortunately I haven't paid as close attention to it because it hasn't affected us the same, but that's not every year."
"When you get a year like we did this past year, grade's not as big a factor when you get a dry year, so it's a lot easier to market."