Imagine someone seeing the moon for the first time. Depending on location, time and circumstance you may conclude the moon is not round but simply a sliver of a crescent shape. My point is that depending on perspective and information received, appearances can be deceiving. The perception of the seeded acreage situation in Western Canada is similar. Depending on where you live and who you take to, your guess on current seeded acreage levels may change.
Those who farm in areas hard hit by severe spring weather certainly deserve the recognition they are receiving from the various government agencies trying to assist them. I applaud the quick action of the Saskatchewan government and its efforts to assess the situation and apply a remedy.
That being said, there is a perception that all acres are in trouble in Western Canada, but that’s simply not the case. With no disrespect to those who have had severe weather problems this year, it is simply human nature that those who have bad news are typically louder than those with good news. This can skew the opinions on production potential.
MY PERCEPTION OF SEEDED ACRES
Statistics Canada has recently come out with an intended seeded acreage report. All of us recognize the a discrepancy between intended acres and what was actually seeded, and we need to put some sense into those numbers to make accurate marketing decisions. The opinions below are my perception from many discussions with famers and others. As always I encourage you to gather as much information form everyone’s perspective and form your own opinions. To cover my assets, I’ll note here that these opinions are subject to change due to excessive rain, disease, hail, wind or an early frost, of course.
Lentil acres were reported as an intended 3.36 million. I believe due to weather only 85 per cent of these intended acres made it in somewhere in the range of 2.9 million acres. I would break it down roughly as 1.6 million of red lentils, one million acres of large and medium greens, 200,000 acres of small green and a sprinkling of others. To put even more perspective on this we have likely seeded 300,000 to 400,000 more red acres and a similar increase in large-green acres to last year. So while some of these acres may be in trouble with flooding, excess moisture and we are sure to see disease pressure, it is realistic to assume we will produce a big crop of lentils. The exception being small green acres. The region south of Moose Jaw and Regina which is a significant small-green region has been hit hard by the weather and I see a slight reduction in small green area.
Chickpea acres reportedly intended by Statistics Canada was 180,000 Kabuli, 20,000 desi and 25,000 other. I am at a bit of a loss on what Stats Can was reporting here. My opinion is 20,000 desi, 160,000 to 180,000 Frontier-type and 75,000-plus B90 type.
Field peas as reported by Statistics Canada were intended at 3.795 million acres, broken down as 3.045 million yellow peas, 690,000 green peas. I am really at a loss on guessing lost acres with field peas. Will we see 30 per cent fewer acres than this? Maybe fewer? It’s hard to say.
Canary seed intentions were listed as 435,000 acres. Again, in the region to the south of Regina and Moose Jaw it seems many canary seed acres did not get seeded. Other areas, such as west central Saskatchewan, that are traditionally strong in acres are doing well. My opinion is that 30 per cent to 35 per cent of the acres did not make it so maybe we are at just below 300,000, which is a shade less than last year.
Canola acres were seemingly intended at 17.7 million. Anybody’s guess is as good as the next guy’s on this one. My opinion is less than 10 million.
Anyone can spout off numbers of acres seeded, but what will all these acres produce? To take it one step further, how will production volumes affect prices?
Will late seeding, excess moisture, above normal thunder shower and hail activity and greater disease and weed pressure affect yield? The short answer is yes, but how much is yet to be determined. As of early July, it seems reasonable to assume average yields.
Average yields translate to a softer red lentils price. Higher production numbers all over the world and in Canada should affect the price negatively. On the green lentils side, particularly large greens of high quality, I anticipate a price increase. If you hold or produce #1 or #2 large greens I wouldn’t rush to sell these at levels below 30 cents.
Chickpeas are likely static price-wise based on average yields. We will know more when we see production levels in other regions. Field peas is too tough to call right now. I am very uncertain acreage-wise. It is no secret however that large stocks still remain in Canada. I am always of the opinion selling below $5 per bushel is unnecessary.
I expect canary seed prices to firm, and we have seen that happen already. Canola too has seen firming in price. This is one to keep an eye on as production levels become clearer.
Our perception of the market and production figures can and does change quickly. This year with weather extremes, changes in your own and the world’s perception of the market can happen more quickly than ever with a sudden weather event. Make sure you know what is happening all around you to have the best chance to assess these events and understand the real impact they will have on production.