Record-large Manitoba soybean acreage still possible

Despite a slow start to seeding in Manitoba this spring, farmers should still be able to plant a record-large soybean crop.

Statistics Canada reported in its latest planting intentions report that farmers in Manitoba intended to plant 1.085 million acres of soybeans as of March 31.

Shawn Rempel, products manager with Quarry Seed at Stonewall, Man., said as long as there’s good weather over the next couple of weeks, farmers should reach the StatsCan estimate.

“I think if the rain holds off for the most part and guys can get back into the field in a reasonable time then I really have no doubt in my mind that we’re going to go over a million acres,” he said.

A lot of farmers in Manitoba will try and get their soybean acres in the ground before the end of May, to meet crop insurance deadlines that cover 100 per cent of the crop.

But most farmers are willing to go until the first week of June — the crop insurance cutoff that covers 80 per cent of the crop — if they need to.

Producers are going to work hard to get the crop in the ground because they don’t want to switch their acres to another crop.

One reason why growers want to stick with soybeans is because they’re less expensive to grow than some other crops, such as canola.

“Soybeans are roughly 50 per cent of the input costs compared to canola, so it’s a lot cheaper to put soybeans in the ground,” Rempel said.

They also won’t give up on their acres too soon because cash prices are strong, and soybeans are profitable for them.

In the U.S., there have been reports of record high basis levels, and the cash market in Canada has been following along.

“The Canadian market to buy soybeans has to be competitive or else guys will just ship across the line, so we’re seeing virtually the same thing up here,” said Rempel.

Because some of the soybean acres may go into the ground a little later than normal, yields could suffer, but not to the same extent as other crops, such as corn and wheat.

“As far as soybeans are concerned, you really don’t lose any yield all the way up until the end of May,” said Rempel. “When you start getting into June planting, there’s a fine line where you can start losing small percentages as the days go by.”

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

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