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StatsCan seen confirming record canola crop

(Resource News International) — Trade sources expect the next Statistics Canada 2008-09 crop production report, to be released Dec. 4, to confirm ideas that Prairie producers harvested a record amount of canola this fall.

“The trade is generally thinking 12 million tonnes. Whether the amount is a couple hundred thousand tons above or below that amount is really neither here nor there,” said Tony Tryhuk, vice-president and manager of commodity trading for RBC Dominion Securities.

Ken Ball, a commodities trader with Union Securities Ltd., said he believes canola production in the Prairie provinces likely ended up between 11.5 and 11.8 million tonnes.

He would not, however, rule out a figure closer to the 12 million-tonne mark, based on the large yields reported in some Prairie regions, particularly in Alberta.

Mike Jubinville, lead analyst and president of ProFarmer Canada, believes canola production could be as high as 12.5 million tonnes, adding that such an extensive amount of canola would be difficult to move.

In order to export the amount of canola that Canada has available, it will take a country such as China stepping up to the plate, Jubinville said.

The previous StatsCan crop production report, released Oct. 2, had pegged 2008-09 canola production at 10.87 million tonnes. That number was at the lower end of trade estimates ranging from 10.5 to 12 million tonnes.

The significant jump between the October and anticipated December output figures is attributed mainly to the time period in which farmers are surveyed.

“The last report was 10.87 million tonnes. Nobody really believed that number, but we all understand that it is farm estimates based upon the time the survey was done,” said Tryhuk.

Now, with the data having been collected in November after the completion of the Prairie harvest, it will be “hard to punch holes in the 12 million-tonne theory,” Tryhuk added.

Canadian canola production in 2007-08 totalled 9.529 million tonnes, which at that time represented a new record amount of output, according to StatsCan.

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