Plenty of wheat and canola to be seeded: StatsCan

Producers in Canada are expected to seed a lot of wheat and canola in 2011, according to the spring planting intentions report Tuesday from Statistics Canada.

One of the crops expected to see a significant increase in acreage this spring is canola, but Mike Jubinville of Pro Farmer Canada in Winnipeg said he expects to see fewer acres than the 19.225 million StatsCan predicts.

“When the surveyors called the farmers, they said, ‘Assuming normal seeding conditions, what are you going to seed?’ We do not have normal seeding conditions,” Jubinville said. “I think we could see as much as one million fewer acres planted than the StatsCan estimate.”

There were 16.818 million acres planted to canola in 2010.

Wheat acreage was on the high end of traders’ estimates, but the big increase came in durum, which is expected to see nearly two million more acres this year than last.

“Durum is going to see a very low carryout of stocks at the end of this year,” said Jerry Klassen, manager of GAP Grains and Products in Winnipeg. “As well, in the main growing regions, producers get around 10 per cent better yields on durum than on spring wheat.”

StatsCan estimated a total of 24.724 million acres of all wheat for 2011, which compared to 21.064 million one year ago. Durum was pegged at 5.05 million acres, up from the 3.15 million seeded in 2010.

“Popular”

With spring seeding expected to be at least two to three weeks behind normal on the Canadian Prairies this year, many producers are likely to plant crops that have a shorter growing season

“Crops that can be seeded a little bit later — assuming we don’t have the extreme conditions of last year — will be popular with producers with the wet soils we have right now,” said Ron Frost of Frost Consulting in Calgary.

Oats acres are predicted to be at 4.056 million acres, up from 2.916 million in 2010, while barley has been pegged to come in at 7.833 million acres, compared to 6.911 million last year.

Flax acres are expected to come in slightly above the one million mark, but Jubinville said it will have a negligible effect on the market.

“You are basically down to the hardcore flax grower now. That was probably the number they had last year, but they lost quite a bit,” he said. “But that’s really no surprise to influence the market.”

A total of 1.2 million acres of flax are expected to be seeded, up from 920,000 in 2010.

The one crop projected to see a decline in acres this spring is peas. StatsCan estimated a total of 2.745 million acres will be planted, down from 3.45 million a year ago.

“Peas were one of the crops that were really difficult to get through the combines last year and the quality was not very good,” said Frost. “Peas were slow to offer new-crop prices, and when they did, they weren’t all that competitive with canola.”

In general, Frost said he has a hard time seeing producers meet the numbers projected from the report.

Total seeded acreage numbers come in at a near-record level, he said, and “I think we will be down about one or two per cent from that.

“There will be areas (where) we simply won’t be able to get the acres in. The seeding conditions from May 20 to June 10 will really determine whether we achieve the full acreage, but I have a hard time seeing us meeting the report’s numbers.”

Table 1. Recap of Statistics Canada’s April 26 seeding intentions report for the period ended March 31, 2011, in millions of acres. Pre-report expectations are provided for comparison purposes.

  StatsCan Pre-report StatsCan
  2011 estimates 2010
Canola 19.225 17.000-19.300 16.818
All wheat 24.724 23.290-24.800 21.064
  Durum 5.050 4.030-5.000 3.150
Barley 7.833 5.700-8.500 6.911
Flaxseed 1.210 1.000-1.400 0.925
Oats 4.056 2.500-3.810 2.913
Peas 2.745 3.000-3.300 3.450

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