AAFC expects fewer wheat acres, more canola

Winnipeg | Reuters — Canada’s farmers will likely plant less wheat and more canola this year, and harvests of both will fall short of last year’s record-smashing levels as yields return to normal, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada said Tuesday.

AAFC forecast plantings of 24.7 million acres of all-wheat in 2014/15, down six per cent. Based on typical yields, production looks to hit 29.3 million tonnes, down 22 per cent from last year’s all-time high.

The department uses analysis, not a farmer survey, to form its outlooks.

AAFC said farmers may plant 21.6 million acres of canola, up eight per cent from a year earlier due to attractive returns. Production, however, is expected to fall 11 per cent to 16 million tonnes.

Farmers plant the bulk of Canadian crops in the spring.

Huge harvests last autumn and frigid temperatures have overwhelmed Canada’s railways, leaving a backlog of crops destined to move from western farm provinces to ports.

As a result, AAFC expects canola stocks at July 31 to be five times higher than a year earlier, at 3.3 million tonnes, and wheat stocks to more than double to 11.8 million tonnes.

— Reporting for Reuters by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg.

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