StatsCan confirms smaller canola acres, more wheat

MarketsFarm — Canadian farmers intend to seed more spring wheat and less canola in 2019, according to Statistics Canada survey results released Wednesday.

Additional shifts are also likely in subsequent reports, as dry conditions in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan may alter some intentions.

Statistics Canada forecast canola area for 2019 at 21.3 million acres, which would be down by 1.5 million acres from the previous year and the five-year average of 21.7 million.

“A good portion of the acreage cut is associated with drier conditions in the southern Prairies, that are not the prime canola areas,” said Mike Jubinville of MarketsFarm Pro.

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Trade troubles with China also added to farmer sentiment of adjusting rotations away from canola in those dry areas and could lead to more acreage trimming, he said.

Much of the area lost to canola will be seeded to wheat, according to the Statistics Canada data, with total wheat acres forecast at 25.7 million, up from 24.7 million seeded in 2018. Of that total, durum area is forecast to decline by one million acres, hitting five million.

However, area seeded to other spring wheat, which includes Canada hard red spring (CWRS) wheat, is expected to increase by about two million acres at 19.4 million.

“Yield and quality of this year’s crop will count more than the acreage put in,” said Jubinville.

Barley area was forecast at 7.2 million acres, coming in well above the 6.5 million acres seeded in 2018 and the previous five-year average of 6.3 million.

Errol Anderson of ProMarket Communications in Calgary said the 10 per cent increase in barley area was at the higher end of trade estimates, and would be bearish for prices.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for MarketsFarm, a Glacier FarmMedia division specializing in grain and commodity market analysis and reporting.

Table: A recap of Statistics Canada’s acreage report as of March 31, 2019, in millions of acres. Pre-report expectations provided for comparison purposes.

estimates2019-20,2018-195-year avg.
at March 31
Canola19.400 – 22.50021.31422.81321.659
All wheat *25.000 – 25.900.     .25.67424.73523.960
Durum4.800 – 6.6005.0216.1855.612
Barley6.700 – 7.5007.1556.4936.316
Flaxseed0.900 – 1.0001.0000.8571.209
Oats3.100 – 3.5003.2913.0533.111
Peas3.500 – 3.8004.0363.6153.956
Lentils3.300 – 3.6003.405 3.7684.179

* – Total wheat includes spring wheat, durum wheat, and winter wheat remaining after winterkill

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