Higher canola acreage expected in StatsCan report

Statistics Canada’s latest planting survey report, due out Wednesday, is expected to show increased canola acreage compared to the agency’s April report, despite the loss of some seeded area due to heavy rains across the Prairies.

"They’ll probably show higher canola acres because their survey took place prior to the worst of the rains coming," said Jonathon Driedger, an analyst with FarmLink Marketing Solutions in Winnipeg.

Bruce Burnett, weather and market analyst with the CWB, is expecting total acreage in Western Canada to decrease by just over two million acres from the April report numbers.

"The wet conditions we had in May have caused some acreage to be lost," he said.

However, all crops across Canada are still expected to see an increase in seeded acreage compared to the previous season, because planting conditions in the spring were favourable.

Jerry Klassen, an analyst with Gap SA Grains and Produits, said last year about nine million acres of land across Canada weren’t seeded. He expects this year only a million to two million acres will go unseeded.

"We have had excellent moisture conditions over the last three years, so summerfallow is getting to be non-existent in Western Canada," he said.

Klassen expects most of the extra acreage will go into canola, as it has a high return for producers and they are in need of money after not being able to plant last year.

Pre-report canola estimates range between 20.4 million and 22 million acres. If realized, that would be a new record and compares with the 2011 level of 18.9 million acres.

A slight increase in winter wheat is also expected, because more producers in Saskatchewan and Manitoba seeded the crop last fall following flooding in the spring of 2011.

"A fair bit of winter wheat went in last fall and part of it was because farmers just wanted to try and get something in the ground while they had the opportunity to work the land," Driedger said.

Spring wheat is also expected to see an increase in acreage, as the outlook for returns for producers is favourable.

"Some of these newer varieties are getting better yields," Klassen said. "Producers might not be getting the protein (from spring wheat) but they’re getting the better yields and so spring wheat has become a cash crop."

Total wheat pre-report estimates range from 23.4 million to 24.7 million acres, which would compare with the year-ago level of 21.5 million acres.

The June 27 report could also show an increase in last year’s crop numbers, as the industry expects the federal statistics agency under-reported the amount of canola planted in 2011.

"If you just look at the canola deliveries, you’ll see that it’s impossible they were that high with the crop size that we had," Klassen said.

Table: Pre-report expectations in advance of Statistics Canada acreage survey results, to be released on June 27. Figures are in millions of acres.

  Pre-report April 2012 Actual,
  estimates estimates 2011
Canola 20.400 – 22.000 20.372 18.862
All wheat 23.400 – 24.700 24.325 21.464
Durum 4.900 – 5.100 5.100 4.015
Barley 7.710 – 8.300 7.968 6.472
Flaxseed 0.900 – 1.000 1.090 0.695
Oats 3.100 – 3.500 3.393 3.109
Peas 3.300 – 3.370 3.310 2.328

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