Corn, soybeans seen expanding on Prairies

Winnipeg | CNS Canada — Corn and soybean acres have expanded in Western Canada in the last 10 years and should continue to do so, according to Monsanto Canada’s vice-president.

“When we think about our corporate vision and the potential to deliver on 110-bushel-per-acre corn, 40 bu./ac. soybeans, and 52 bu./ac. of canola, we believe that the addition of corn and soybeans to wheat and canola rotations in the west fits with that vision of producing more and conserving more and improving the profitability of Western Canadian agriculture,” Neil Arbuckle said here Wednesday at the Canadian Global Crops Symposium.

“In fact, some early work that we’ve done leads us to conclude that having corn and soybeans in rotations in the southern Prairies will lead to a more diversified wheat management,” he said.

Last year, there were over one million harvested acres of soybeans and 395,000 harvested acres of corn in Western Canada, according to Statistics Canada.

“We’ve seen a tremendous growth in the soybean acres in the last three or four years in Manitoba and moving into Saskatchewan,” said Francois Labelle, interim executive director for the Manitoba Pulse Growers Association. “Now the corn hasn’t grown as quickly, but it is definitely coming along as well.”

The real question, Arbuckle said, is: Where do corn and soybean producers expand to?

“There are no more new acres available,” said Myron Krahn, president of the Manitoba Corn Growers Association. The short growing season is a challenge, he added, but there’s definitely potential to expand in the long term.

Arbuckle compared the percentages of the different crops in Western Canada and the profitability of each of those crops. If any amount of these crops were to be exchanged for corn and soybeans, he said, wheat should be the biggest loser.

That will be up to the producers to decide, Labelle said.

“It’s which crop is going to give the best return to the grower,” he said. “If a producer can make more money on soybeans or more money on wheat or more money on canola, he will make that decision and that’s where the acres will go.”

— Marney Blunt writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.


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