By Connor Lynch
JOHNSTOWN — Eastern Ontario soybeans are shipping out as fast as they can but it might not be fast enough as corn starts filling storage bins.
The Port of Johnstown, with the largest storage capacity in Eastern Ontario at 160,000 metric tonnes, has had a busy season moving soybeans. As of Oct. 23, the port has shipped about 66,000 tonnes of beans overseas, said operations manager Kevin Saunders. At the end of September, exports over last year were up by 50,000 tonnes.
As corn harvest got underway at the end of October, the port was approaching capacity, said Saunders. November will quite possibly be a start and stop month for the port, with vessels coming in to open up storage space as trucks wait to drop off new crop.
Carleton Place dairy and cash crop farmer Amanda O’Connell already ran in to a lineup of trucks at the port. She had two truckloads of soybeans booked to be dropped off on the same day but only ended up emptying one. The truck was scheduled for a 4 p.m. and a 7 p.m. dropoff, but ended up waiting in line for three hours with the first load. There wasn’t enough time to drive 90 minutes back to the farm and return to port with a second load. The O’Connells have on-farm storage but were worried they’d end up with too much. They ended up clearing space by sending some beans to Port of Montreal.
Plenty of beans have been flowing steadily in, Saunders said. The ports received about 6,800 tonnes of soybeans every day since they started receiving in September, enough to fill a ship every four days. In four hours of loading a ship they can clear enough space to accept grain for a day and a half, which should help keep things moving, he said.