Grainworld: Pulse and special crop area to increase

Winnipeg | CNS Canada — The area seeded to pulse and special crops is expected to increase in Western Canada this spring, according to an outlook presented here Monday at the Wild Oats Grainworld conference.

Jon Driedger, a market analyst with FarmLink Marketing Solutions in Winnipeg, said favourable input costs and some decent new-crop contracts for certain pulses will encourage farmers to plant more of the specialty crops that have been put on the back burner for the past few years.

Lower prices for some of the bigger crops, including wheat and canola, is also helping renew some interest in special and pulse crops, he said.

He projected Canadian oats acreage would increase to 3.5 million acres in 2014-15, from the 2.78 million grown in 2013-14. Flax area for 2014-15 was pegged at 1.14 million acres, up from 1.04 million acres.

Pea acreage was pegged at 3.7 million, from 3.29 last year, while lentils are expected to increase their area to 2.7 million acres, from the 2013-14 figure of 2.39 million.

Chickpeas were expected to jump to 205,000 acres, from 180,000, while 325,000 acres of edible beans were projected to be planted this spring, up from 249,000 in 2013-14.

Mustard, canaryseed and sunflower crops were also expected to see more acres planted this spring. Mustard is set to increase to 375,000 acres, from 365,000, with canaryseed expected to jump from 210,000 acres last year, to 350,000 acres in 2014-15. Sunflower acres were pegged at 150,000, from 70,000 last spring.

Another crop that is expected to continue to grow in popularity for western Canadian growers is soybeans, with Driedger expecting Manitoba acres to expand to 1.3 million acres, from 1.05 million in 2013-14.

Canola area is also expected to see a slight increase, to 21 million acres, from 19.94 million last spring.

The increased area in specialty, pulse and oilseed crops is expected to come out of the cereals, with logistics problems, large carryout stocks and very low prices helping to discourage some acres.

Driedger pegged 2014-15 spring wheat area at 16.5 million acres, from 19.04 million last year. Winter wheat area is unchanged at two million acres. Durum area is set to decrease to 4.8 million acres, from 4.97 million.

Barley and oats are also expected to lose some acres, with 3.5 million projected for oats, from 3.17 in 2013-14. Barley area was pegged at 6.6 million acres for 2014-15, from 7.08 million in 2013-14.

Driedger also noted summerfallow area is expected to increase slightly, with some acres maybe not being planted due to the low prices and large carryout stocks.

Some acres that maybe shouldn’t have been planted in the first place, but were because of high commodity prices, could move into summerfallow or forages, he added.

The area left unseeded is expected to increase to five million acres, from 3.88 million in 2013-14.

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

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