Soybeans to see continued growth in Saskatchewan

(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

CNS Canada — Soybeans are a relatively new crop in Saskatchewan, but are generating more traction and are expected to increase their footprint in 2015.

Saskatchewan farmers planted 270,000 acres of soybeans in 2014, nearly double the previous year, according to Statistics Canada data.

“We’re expecting soybean acres to rise again,” said Carl Potts, executive director of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers. “I don’t think we’ll see a year-on-year doubling this year, but we could get to the 300,000-acre mark.”

Development of new shorter-season varieties was helping in the expansion of soybean area into Saskatchewan, he said.

While soybean area may be rising, Potts didn’t think it was necessarily at the expense of pea and lentil crops traditionally grown in the province. Rather, soybeans were seen as offering an additional pulse alternative.

“It’s promising for growers to have another nitrogen-fixing crop in the rotation,” said Potts, noting soybeans will be primarily grown in the province’s southeast, likely taking some acres away from canola.

For peas and lentils, Potts noted prices were quite strong, given solid demand and tight carryout projections. Those two crops have also seen an expansion of their adapted area.

“You only need small percentage adjustments in cereal grain acres to lead to large changes in peas and lentils,” he added.

In neighbouring Manitoba, farmers have been planting soybeans since the early 2000s, with area rising over the past decade to roughly 1.27 million acres in 2014.

Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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