Prairie winter wheat area seen up

The area seeded to winter wheat in western Canada this fall is expected to be higher than the level achieved last year at the same time, according to an industry official.

"I’m fully expecting to see winter wheat area on the Canadian Prairies surpass the year ago level," said Jake Davidson, executive director of Winter Cereals Canada at Minnedosa, Man.

He acknowledged farmers in Manitoba have already begun to seed the crop, particularly in the central and southern areas of that province.

"Normally, winter wheat is planted on harvest canola, and the harvest of that crop was completed early in those areas this year," Davidson said.

The decision to seed winter wheat in the fall of 2012 was made easy by the fact the quality of the winter wheat harvested this summer was extremely high with a very high protein content, he noted. Yields for winter wheat were also above average in general.

"There were instances in which yields hit over 100 bushels an acre and protein content was in the 13 per cent range," he said. "With those kind of results, the neighbours of those farmers are taking a great interest in growing the crop."

Demand for winter wheat seed has been strong so far, he added, and good financial returns for wheat will also encourage the seeding of the crop.

Statistics Canada pegged all wheat seedings in Western Canada in the fall of 2011 at 1.235 million acres.

Davidson said final acre numbers provided by Manitoba Agricultural Services Corp. (MASC) indicated that Manitoba winter wheat farmers broke a record for the number of acres planted to the crop in the fall of 2011.

Quoting acreage reports, he said there were 593,906 acres of winter wheat seeded in Manitoba, passing the previous record of 510,000 acres in the fall of 2008.

Davidson also pointed out that the 10year average for winter wheat acres in Manitoba (2002-2011) has been about 265,000 acres.

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

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