Few changes expected in Prairie seeded acres

(Resource News International) — With the exception of some weather-related problems, producers in Western Canada are believed to be
staying the course in terms of their seeding choices this
spring.

“As in the past, there has been some very variable
conditions, which has probably resulted in some switching of crops
in select locations in Western Canada,” said Ken Ball, a broker with
Union Securities Ltd. in Winnipeg.

“For example, there may
have been some canola area being switched into a different crop in

isolated regions and in some cases, other crops being switched
into canola.”

However, Ball said, the impression he was getting from his
producers was that they were staying with their original
decisions.

“The ability of producers to switch crops has also been
limited by the lack of seed availability,” Ball said.

“There is certainly a number of cross currents in place at
this time that one would think that shifts in acreage are ongoing,
but to tell you the truth I think there is only some tweaking of
acreage ongoing at this time,” said Greg Kostal, with Winnipeg’s Kostal Consulting
Inc.

Timely seeding will have more to do with the
acreage count, with the other key factor now on the minds of the
producer being weather and its impact on yields during the growing
season, Kostal said.

For example, “whether canola acres rise or fall a couple of hundred
thousand acres from the April 21 Statistics Canada acreage survey
is not as important as production of that crop hitting 10 million

(tonnes), which is what the industry now expects,” he said.

Kostal said the weather for seeding in Western Canada was
generally viewed as non-threatening.

“Roughly 10 per cent of the various crops is generally switched at
this time of year,” Kostal said.

Another factor keeping producers from making any
major switches was the fact that most crops are still penciling
in favourably, Ball said.

He acknowledged there may be some switching out of wheat
and into oats, as well as some canola. However, the switching was
said to be minimal at best.

If anything, Kostal felt, the area to summerfallow that
was in the Statistics Canada survey may actually decline somewhat
as producers increase their acreage base, not lower it.

Few incentives

There were some individuals who felt the decline in
canola prices might cause producers to switch into other crops.

“I’m thinking that canola acreage might actually be lower
than what we saw during 2007,” said Mike Jubinville, a Winnipeg analyst with
the farmer advisory service ProFarmer Canada.

There were few incentives to plant extra canola acres, he said,
above and beyond what was in the Statistics Canada survey released
April 21.

Improvements in crop conditions in Western Canada have
suggested to market participants that canola area has grown since
the release of the report. The industry participants also pointed
out there is still plenty of time to seed the crop.

“There is no doubt plenty of time to plant canola and because
of that, producers are not changing their seeding plans at this
stage of the game,” Jubinville said.

It will take an extreme agronomic situation
before producers change any of their seeding intentions, including
canola, Kostal said.

Statistics Canada will next update its acreage survey in
June.

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