Manitoba acres shift away from soybeans

Actual soybean acres in Manitoba this summer will end up well below the original intentions, as planting delays in many areas and insurance deadlines cause producers to shift away from the crop and into canola.

When farmers were surveyed by Statistics Canada in late March the results pointed to intended soybean area around 690,000 acres, which would compare with 520,000 the previous year.

However, with a good portion of the prime soybean-growing parts of the province underwater this spring, the actual area will likely end up in the 300,000- to 400,000-acre range, said Roger Kissick of Linear Grain at Carman, Man.

“The 680,000 to 700,000 acres was going to happen under ideal conditions, and we’re obviously not getting ideal conditions,” he said. 

Producers will still try and put soybeans in if they can, he said, but with the full crop insurance deadline for soybeans in most of the province passing on May 30, and the deadline in south-central Manitoba fast approaching on June 6, he anticipated any unseeded acres would shift into other crops.

While strong soybean prices could still encourage some later seeding, Kissick pointed out that canola prices are also good and “they have a better chance of having the canola crop mature then they do the beans.”

However, soybeans did show that they could handle wet conditions better than other crops a year ago, which may keep some interest in seeding the crop after insurance deadlines have past, he said.

From a marketing standpoint, the seeded or unseeded acres in Manitoba will have very little effect on prices, as the province is a very small player in the larger soybean market, he said.

End users in the province already bring up a large amount of soymeal from the U.S., and will continue to do so if local supplies are not available, Kissick said.

Soybean prices in Manitoba generally track the U.S. futures, accounting for the exchange rate and local transportation factors. The nearby July soybean contract at the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT) is currently trading around US$13.80 per bushel, while the new-crop November contract is priced around US$13.70.

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