Canadian Crops Hurt by Drought

October 6, 2015 06:00 PM

Drought hurt crop production for Canadian wheat and canola this year, according to Statistics Canada’s latest Production of Principal Field Crops report released Friday, Oct. 2. However, declines were expected, and average yields for both crops should improve in the next report, scheduled for December.

“The survey was taken the first week of September, and this was only the second report of the year,” said weather and crop specialist Bruce Burnett, Canadian Wheat Board Market Research Services.

For wheat, despite lower output than a year ago, production was higher than trade expectations.

Total Canadian wheat production is expected to fall 11.4% from previous-year levels to 26.1 million metric tons due to a 12.4% decrease in average yield, from 46.1 bu. per acre last year to 40.4 bu. per acre in 2015.

Spring wheat took the brunt of the production declines, down 1 million metric tons from last year on substantially lower yields. The expected spring wheat yield is 41.4 bu. per acre, or 9.6% lower than last year’s 45.8 bu.

“After being higher than normal for the past couple of years, spring wheat yields in western Canada are returning to more typical levels,” said Burnett.

Durum yields declined even more. At 30.9 bushels per acre, this year’s average durum wheat yield is expected to drop 24.5% to 30.9 bu. per acre.

Drought’s Impact Lingers

“We are still seeing impacts from drought,” said Burnett.

The brunt of the damage occurred in Saskatchewan, where farmers anticipate wheat production to fall 15.3% to 12 million metric tons on an average expected yield of 34.5 bu.  per acre, down from 40.5 bu.  last year.

Canadian canola production is expected to decline 12.9% from 2014 to 14.3 million metric tons due to an expected 8.3% decline in the average yield to 32.2 bu.  per acre.

Canadian farmers reported that soybean production could fall 2% to 5.9 million metric tons this year, following seven consecutive years of record-high production. The decrease in production is due to a projected 2.3% decline in harvested area.

Boost in Barley Production

However, not all of the production news is bleak for Canadian farmers, who will produce 12.2 million metric tons of corn for grain, 6.2% more than last.

Farmers in Canada also expect to produce 7.6 million metric tons of barley, 6.9% more than a year ago, due to increased harvested area. The average barley yield in Canada is expected to decrease from last year’s 61.9 bu. per acre to 59.9 bu. per acre in 2015.

“It’s still a respectable yield for barley,” said Burnett. “Barley production was 500,000 metric tons higher than trade estimates.”

Oat production is expected to rise 10.5% to 3.3 million metric tons due to a 17.8% increase in harvested acres. Like most Canadian crops this year, the average yield on oats is expected to drop 6.2% to 79 bu. per acre.

“We don’t think any of these numbers are particularly market-moving,” Burnett concluded.                                                                                                                                            

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