Bourgault Industries Ltd. has issued layoff notices to about 7% of its workforce, the company announced in a news release. 

The Saskatchewan-based shortline manufacturer says it is experiencing reduced demand for its products due to a number of events that have occurred recently in the markets it services. The notices will take effect in 8 weeks or so, unless market conditions turn for the better before then.

The company listed the number of issues plaguing its operations, with the first being droughts in Western Canada, the Northern U.S. Plains, Australia and parts of Eastern Europe that have reduced crop yields. Other reasons include:

  • Massive steel price increases due to tariffs and duties, which have made farm equipment more expensive
  • Also due to tariffs, lentil prices are about 50% lower than a year ago
  • Durum prices are more than $2 per bushel lower than a year ago
  • Canola prices are lower than one year ago
  • An abnormally wet fall has reduced crop quality for cereal grains and some of the pulse crops on the Western Prairies and Northern U.S. Plains
  • Related to the wet conditions, drying costs will significantly reduce profit margins for farmers in the affected areas
  • The frost in September on the Northern Prairies has reduced crop quality and yields of later seeded crops
  • Soil moisture in the southwestern Prairies and the upper Northern U.S. Plains has improved but large areas are still experiencing low soil moisture reserves

Bourgault noted that it would expect to return to higher production levels upon the return of more normal market conditions.