StatsCan finds heat, disease hitting canola output

Statistics Canada’s first survey looking of grain and oilseed production in 2012-13 suggests weather took more of a toll on canola production than first expected, according to market watchers.

"Of the estimates, canola was the most watched and it didn’t fail to draw attention," said Ken Ball, a broker with Union Securities in Winnipeg.

Statistics Canada pegged 2012-13 Canadian canola production at 15.41 million tonnes, well off pre-report projections that ranged from 15.5 million to as high as 17 million. In 2011-12, Canadian canola output totalled 14.165 million tonnes.

"When the survey was conducted, canola fields obviously looked a lot better to farmers than what was actually out there," Ball said.

Ron Frost, with Frost Forecast Consulting in Calgary, had anticipated canola production to fall at the low end of pre-report ideas, but the low estimate was a surprise.

Both Ball and Frost said weather issues, including heat and excess moisture in some locations, definitely hurt the yield potential of the crop, which Statistics Canada averaged out in the survey at around 32 bushels an acre.

"The government agency in its report had increased its seeded area to canola in Canada by about 500,000 acres from its June forecast," Frost said. However, that did not translate into production increasing.

Disease and pest issues also contributed to the canola crop in Canada failing to meet expectations, Ball said.

All wheat production in Canada in 2012-13 was pegged by Statistics Canada at 27.013 million tonnes, in line with pre-report projections that ranged from 26 million to as high as 28.2 million. In 2011-12, all wheat output totalled 25.261 million tonnes.

"The weather was fairly conducive to promoting good wheat yields," Frost said.

Another surprise number was the barley forecast. The government agency pegged Canadian barley production at 9.508 million tonnes, which was at the high end of pre-report ideas that ranged from 8.59 million to 8.948 million. In 2011-12, barley output in Canada totalled 7.756 million tonnes.

"There had been suggestions that barley did not fill out as good as it could have due to the weather with yield potential being forecast to be on the lower end of the scale," Frost said. "It appears, the crop managed to do well despite the weather."

StatsCan pegged oat production in Canada at 2.994 million tonnes, within pre-report estimates that ranged from 2.75 million to 3.1 million. In 2011-12, oats output in Canada was 2.997 million tonnes.

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

A quick summary of the Statistics Canada crop production survey. Production in millions of tonnes.

  August Pre-report Production
  2012-13 ideas 2011-12
Winter wheat 3.682 n/a 3.058
Spring wheat 19.058 n/a 18.031
Durum wheat 4.273 4.750 – 5.112 4.172
All wheat 27.013 26.000 – 28.206 25.261
Oats 2.994 2.750 – 3.100 2.997
Barley 9.508 8.590 – 8.948 7.756
Fall rye 0.312 n/a 0.195
Flaxseed 0.547 0.495 – 0.592 0.368
Canola 15.410 15.500 – 17.000 14.165
Corn 11.703 n/a 10.689
Dry peas 2.981 3.110 – 3.400 2.116
Soybeans 4.405 n/a 4.246

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