The Ice exchange is within months to launch a series of Canadian grain contracts, including an attempt at durum futures, as industry scrambles to exploit the breaking of the Canadian Wheat Board's monopoly.
Ice's Canadian operation - whose offerings currently include Winnipeg-traded canola futures, of which more than 4m lots a year, equivalent to more than 80m tonnes, are traded – said it expected early next year to start offering trading in barley and wheat futures.
The move follows legislation revealed on Tuesday to end the CWB's monopoly over handling grain sales for western Canadian farmers, who produce the vast majority of the nation's crop, and a stranglehold which has made the board the world's top wheat and barley seller.
The deregulation , which follows a similar shake-up in Australia some three years ago, while being bitterly contested by the board is being keenly welcomed by other groups seeing advantage in a liberalised market.
'Brighter than ever'
Viterra, the Canada-based agribusiness group which bought ABB Grain to years ago to break into the newly-deregulated Australian market, said it was looking forward "to continuing to strengthen our positive relationships with western Canadian growers".
Mayo Schmidt, the Viterra chief executive, terming the Canadian shake-up a "major and positive change", said the changes would enable the realisation of "transportation and logistical efficiencies… benefiting farmers, industry, customers, and the broader economy".
He added: "The future of agriculture in Canada looks brighter than ever."
Agribusiness giants such as Cargill are also seen likely to scramble for a share of the market.
In futures, officials at the Minneapolis Grain Exchange have already revealed plans to accept Canadian spring wheat, which accounts for the vast majority of the country's wheat crop, against their hard red spring wheat contracts.
The change is set to be implemented for contracts expiring in May 2013 at the latest.
Ice Futures Canada said its own contracts would kick in for delivery from October 2012, and cover barley, milling wheat and durum.
The Minneapolis exchange in February 2003 shelved its own futures in durum, the wheat variety used to make pasta, because of a dearth of trading.
However, Canada is a bigger durum grower, forecasting output of 3.9m tonnes, up 30% from last year's weather-affected production, but still below 2009-10 levels of 5.4m tonnes. It is the top durum exporter.
The US is expecting a 1.4m-tonne durum harvest this year.
Brad Vannan, the Ice Futures Canada chief operating officer, also noted "substantial demand", both domestically and internationally, for the grains contracts proposed.
"These contracts recognise Canada's central role in the global agricultural marketplace and they serve an essential role in providing transparent price discovery and risk management tools," he added.
The milling wheat and durum wheat contracts will be 100 tonnes in size, while barley lots will be for 20 tonnes, like canola.