Canola Shifts to Wheat in Canadian Prairies

June 27, 2013 01:44 AM
Canola Shifts to Wheat in Canadian Prairies

Corn and soybean acres also continue to grow, according to a Statistics Canada report.

Planting in Canada, while a bit late, has progressed more smoothly than in the U.S. Corn Belt. As of June 10, crop producers in Canada had either planted, or intended to plant, larger areas of spring wheat, durum wheat and oats than in 2012, while cutting back on canola and barley acres, according to Statistics Canada’s June 25 report on principal field crop areas. Corn and soybean acres also continue to reach new heights.

Canadian growers have planted a record 3.6 million acres of corn, up 2.9 percent from a year ago. While corn acres are increasing across much of Canada, the largest increase came in Manitoba, where producers planted a record 365,000 acres to corn, up 21.7 percent from 2012 acreage. Ontario was the only province to report a decline in acres seeded to corn, down 1.6 percent to 2.2 million acres.

"As new varieties and hybrids develop that fit the climate and conditions up here, more and more growers have committed to corn and even soybeans," says Jonathon Driedger, market analyst with FarmLink Marketing Solutions, Winnipeg, Manitoba. "Corn has been planted in the heart of the Red River Valley for awhile, but as the hybrids improve, corn is pushing farther west." Driedger was the commentator on an MGEX press call following release of the report.

Seeded soybean acreage also rose 10.5 percent, compared with a year ago, to a record 4.6 million acres this year, due mainly to a 35.6 percent increase in Manitoba, where producers planted a record 1.1 million acres. Manitoba producers have increased soybean acreage for six years in a row. Soybean acreage also rose in Quebec, up 3 percent to 712,900 acres. Ontario producers, however, reported planting 2.6 million acres of beans, a 1.5-percent decline.

No Surprises: Big Wheat Crop As Canola Declines

As always, the area planted to wheat in Canada’s prairie provinces will be large. The overall wheat acreage in Canada is up 9.3% from 2012 to 25.9 million acres. A 12.6-percent increase in spring wheat acreage to 19.1 million acres accounted for most of the additional plantings. Spring wheat acreage rose 14.4% in Saskatchewan, 19.3 percent in Manitoba, and 7.3 percent in Alberta.

"We saw a sizeable increase in hard red spring wheat, which is the largest classification of wheat in Canada," says Driedger. Acreage for both hard red spring wheat and overall spring wheat are at their largest levels since 2001, he adds.

Canadian producers planted 19.7 million acres to canola this year, an 8.3-percent decline from last year and the first decrease since 2006. Saskatchewan saw an 8-percent drop in canola acres to 10.3 million, acres in Alberta fell 6.5 percent to 6.1 million, and Manitoba acres were off 12.2 percent to 3.1 million.

"It’s still a big crop historically," says Driedger. "But some canola did shift to wheat and to soybeans in Manitoba."

With prices on all crops relatively high when planting decisions were being made, many producers returned to their more typical rotations, he adds. Disease pressures and growing costs also likely played a role in reduced canola acres.

Perhaps the only surprise in the report was that Statistics Canada slightly reduced summer fallow from April’s 3.5 million acres.

"People were looking for an increase in summer fallow due to the late spring," says Driedger. "Fallow could increase going forward." Prior to the report, he was expecting a 1-million-acre increase in fallow.


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