Canola down, wheat up in StatsCan’s first acreage estimates

CNS Canada –– Canadian farmers intend to seed a bit more wheat and a bit less canola this spring compared to a year ago, according to the first survey estimates from Statistics Canada.

However, adjustments are likely in subsequent reports, while weather over the growing season will become more important in determining actual production.

“There’s nothing in here that’s particularly game-changing,” said Jon Driedger of FarmLink Marketing Solutions, on the acreage estimates.

“Changes in acreage are always important, but yield will make the bigger difference in what the ultimate production will be,” said Mike Jubinville of ProFarmer Canada.

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All-wheat (spring, winter, durum) area was forecast at 24.8 million acres, well within pre-report trade guesses and up from the 23.8 million seeded the previous year. Of that total, durum area is forecast to rise to 5.5 million acres, from 4.8 million in 2014.

Canola area was forecast at 19.4 million acres, nearly a million acres below the 20.3 million seeded the previous year, but in line with trade estimates.

“We’ll either need to see the canola number come up, or this market will be really tight next year,” said Driedger.

“At 19.4 million acres, if we even have a slight hiccup in the crop, our carryout will be very tight,” said Wayne Palmer of Agri-Trend Marketing. He expected to see adjustments of more canola and less wheat in upcoming reports.

“Any spark of a weather scare would lead to a rally (in canola),” said Palmer.

Beyond wheat and canola, oats were one surprise that fell outside most pre-report estimates. StatsCan pegged oats area at 3.6 million acres, up from the 2.8 million seeded in 2014.

“That’s too much oats,” said Jubinville.

Driedger also pointed to the oats number as being on the large side, and expected actual area would be revised lower in subsequent reports.

Barley, meanwhile, could be seen as bullish, according to Jubinville. While StatsCan forecasts barley acres to rise to 6.5 million, from 5.9 million in 2014, many pre-report trade estimates had topped seven million.

Pea area was forecast at 3.8 million acres, relatively unchanged from the previous year, while lentils were forecast to be slightly higher on the year at 3.4 million. Most analysts were anticipating even larger area to the two pulse crops, which could show up in subsequent reports.

Summerfallow is forecast to be the lowest ever, with only 2.7 million acres slated to be unseeded according to StatsCan. That compares with 4.6 million unseeded acres in 2014, and the five-year average of 7.2 million.

Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

Table: A recap of Statistics Canada’s acreage intentions report, in millions of acres, for the period ended March 31. Pre-report expectations provided for comparison purposes.

StatsCanPre-reportStatsCan
  March 2015…estimates2014-15
Canola19.41619.000 – 21.50020.325
* All wheat…24.76523.500 – 27.000….23.835
Durum5.5005.100 – 6.0004.750
Barley6.4786.400 – 8.0005.880
Flaxseed1.6301.600 – 2.0001.555
Oats3.6452.800 – 3.4002.798
Peas3.8303.700 – 4.5003.795
Lentils3.3503.200 – 3.8003.110

* — Includes winter wheat remaining.

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Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for MarketsFarm specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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