Alberta farmers struggle to market record harvest

Grain farmers in Alberta say competition for rail shipments from oil producers is delaying their efforts to get last fall's record harvest to markets.

Competition from oil industry limits access to shipping grain by rail

Statistics Canada said in its July crop production report that Canadian farmers anticipated record canola production in 2013, as well as increases in wheat, barley and oats. (Seth Perlman/AP file photo)

Grain farmers in Alberta say competition for rail shipments from oil producers is delaying their efforts to get last fall's record harvest to markets. 

2013 was a record year for farmers, with production up as much as 40 per cent for some crops.

However, much of that grain is sitting in storage and farmers are unable to ship it to market. 

Most grain from Alberta is shipped by rail.

Lynn Jacobson, the president of the Alberta Federation of Agriculture, says there is too much competition for railway capacity — especially from the energy sector.

"There's a lot of competition for the rail lines," said Jacobson.  

"There's been more oil and other goods shipped and the railways basically have a limited capacity."

Farm groups from Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba will be forwarding recommendations to government in an effort to improve the grain transportation system.