Manitoba soybean acres seen rising on record yields

CNS Canada –– Soybean acreage looks set to increase next year in Manitoba due to good yields and prices. The expansion comes despite the fact the province is overdue for a killing frost and U.S. acreage is set to grow.

“This year we had just over 1.6 million acres planted. Early projections call for two million acres” next year, said Dennis Lange, pulse specialist for Manitoba Agriculture.

For that to occur, some other crops will have to make room. Canola could be one of the crops to feel the pinch, along with peas and a few others, Lange said.

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“We saw a rise (in field peas) last year. But we’ve had some weather conditions, especially in the south, so we’ll probably see those acres drop off.”

Soybeans held their own this year despite the wet weather, he said. Average yields hit a record 41.3 bu./ac. in the province in 2016, according to data from Statistics Canada. That’s up by about four bushels an acre from the previous record.

“I’m saying we could see 42-bu./ac.-a-year averages,” he said, adding the picture would become clearer once crop insurance data had been tabulated.

Low fertilizer costs are yet another reason behind soybeans’ attractiveness.

However, some of the factors that producers should consider before planting include seed costs and the long growing season needed for a successful harvest, Lange said.

“What growers have to remember is that we haven’t had a killing frost in soybeans in over six years,” he noted.

Soybeans are typically planted in May and harvested in mid- to late September, said Lange.

However, he said, 2016 was an exception due to the wet weather.

“This year it went into late October due to the late weather but with commodity prices being strong, growers have had good yields, good returns,” he said.

Meanwhile, it appears U.S. soybean acres will grow as well. A recent forecast by Informa Economics predicted U.S. growers could plant six per cent more soybeans in 2017, which would bring the U.S. crop’s area to 88.4 million acres.

— Dave Sims writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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