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StatsCan survey finds small canola crop

Statistics Canada on Tuesday released its latest estimates on what production of the various grain and oilseed crops in Canada will be, with projections coming in at a lower level than what most participants had anticipated.

“Most pre-report estimates had called for a jump in the  production of canola, wheat, barley and a host of other crops,” said Jerry Klassen, manager of GAP SA Grains and Products in Winnipeg.

While participants will take the numbers at face value, Klassen said, most are expecting a hike in the output projections in a later report.

“Based on historic trends, the government agency has a tendency to raise production estimates from the October survey to when they release the December report,” Klassen said.

Ken Ball, a broker with Union Securities, agreed that the numbers will be raised in the next report, as a better handle will then be available on what the actual yields were.

“The timing of the past survey was conducted on a more visual basis rather than what harvested yields were, given that crops back in August were still in the development stage and as little had actually been combined,” Ball said.

Statistics Canada pegged Canada’s 2011-12 canola crop at 12.928 million tonnes, which was below pre-report ideas that ranged from 13.5 million to 14.2 million tonnes. The projection also compares with the July production forecast of 13.192 million and the revised 2010/11 level of 12.773 million.

The lower-than-expected canola forecast was associated in part to smaller-than-anticipated yields in Manitoba, said Ron Frost, a grain and oilseed analyst with Frost Forecast Consulting in Calgary.

Canola yields will likely go up, he said, but the prospect of a 14 million-tonne canola crop will be extremely difficult to hit.

“I’m thinking that canola output will now be only in the 13.2 million- to 13.5 million-tonne range at best,” Frost said.

Below ideas

The 2011-12 all-wheat production estimate of 24.160 million tonnes was also below pre-report ideas that ranged from 24.452 million to 24.893 million and compares with the July forecast of 24.075 million. All wheat output in 2010-11 totalled 23.167 million tonnes.

Yields have been flat for the past four years and 2011 sees this trend continue with an anticipated yield of 40.1 bushels per acre. There was a trade expectation for a yield increase, Klassen said.

There was some trade expectation that a boost in Canadian spring wheat production would more than offset lost U.S. spring wheat output this year, but that does not appear to be the case, Ball said.

Much of the wheat production increase was mainly linked to an increase in durum wheat. Durum production is expected to increase 30.2 per cent over 2010 to 3.94 million tonnes on the strength of increases in anticipated harvested area, up 27.5 per cent.

Barley production in Canada during 2011-12 was pegged by Statistics Canada at 7.898 million tonnes. Pre-report expectations had called for output to be in the 8.15 million- to 8.5 million-tonne range. In July the production estimate was 8.279 million tonnes while in 2010-11 output totalled 7.605 million tonnes.

Manitoba was again linked to the production decline, Ball said.

Much of the uncertainty in the barley and oat numbers was tied to yield potential, said Mike Jubinville, an analyst with ProFarmer Canada.

In both cases, farmers in those areas where good yields were anticipated have been largely disappointed with what actually came off the field, he said.

The following are Statistics Canada’s estimates and pre-report ideas for 2011-12 (August to July) Canadian production, in millions of tonnes.

 
StatsCan, StatsCan,
  Trade September July StatsCan,
  estimates 2011-12 2011-12 2010-11
Canola 13.500-14.200 12.928 13.192 12.773
All wheat 24.452-24.893 24.160 24.075 23.167
Oats 2.700-2.953 2.887 2.886 2.479
Flaxseed 0.350-0.375 0.378 0.365 0.423

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