Soybeans’ potential seen growing on Prairies

(Scott Bauer photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

Winnipeg | CNS Canada — Soybean acres in Canada — particularly Western Canada — are expected to be on the rise, according to an analyst.

“I’m basing that on new varieties as well as price,” Chris Beckman, oilseeds analyst for the grains and oilseeds division of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, told the annual Wild Oats Grainworld conference.

More varieties are coming out that will allow soybeans to grow in drier climates, said Beckman, adding soybean production has doubled in Canada over the past five years.

One added benefit for soybeans, he noted, is the crop’s ability to go into the ground easily. “They require less inputs than canola.”

Western Canadian farmers are expected to plant nearly two million acres to soybeans in 2015-16, according to Beckman. Soybean area in the Prairie provinces came in at 1.54 million acres in 2014-15, according to data from Statistics Canada.

Soybean area in Western Canada, he said, could eventually hit similar levels to peas, which saw 3.78 million acres seeded in 2014.

Canada has enjoyed its most success exporting non-GMO soybeans. Beckman said the country exports 800,000 to 1.2 million tonnes each year.

“China’s rising middle class continues to support world soybean markets,” he said. However, he acknowledged, soybeans look to be entering a bearish phase due to the massive supplies being pushed onto the market from the U.S. and South America.

Manitoba soybeans are expected to get into the $8-$9 per bushel range ($350 per tonne) in 2015-16, according to Beckman. That’s $20 a tonne less than last year, and $20 less than in Ontario, which typically commands higher prices.

“Manitoba soybean prices generally follow Chicago and prices have declined, while the basis between Chicago and Manitoba is variable,” he said.

For 2015, Beckman said, AAFC projects Canadian production of soybeans to rise by 10 per cent, to 6.7 million tonnes. Exports are expected to rise by 12 per cent, to 4.8 million tonnes. Domestic crush should be stable at 1.6 million tonnes.

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



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