Trade sees Canadian farmers trimming wheat, canola acres

(Dave Bedard photo)

Winnipeg | Reuters — Soggy spring conditions in key crop-growing areas of the Canadian Prairies left farmers unable to plant as much as they intended, but canola seedings still look record-large, according to a Reuters survey of 16 traders and analysts ahead of a government report next week.

Wet weather made fields sloppy in Alberta’s Peace River region, and in northeastern Saskatchewan, but the extent of unplanted land was not as great as some predicted, said Alyssa Mistelbacher, market analyst at FarmLink Marketing Solutions.

“It’s around the margins, not going to be earth-shattering,” she said of land that was too wet to plant. “Conditions overall on the Prairies, besides those really wet pockets, are looking really good.”

Canada’s canola seedings amounted to a largest-ever 22.2 million acres, according to the survey’s average estimate, up nine per cent from last year, but down 0.8 per cent from Statistics Canada’s April forecast.

All-wheat plantings, including spring wheat, durum and winter wheat remaining from planting last summer, are estimated, on average, at 22.7 million acres, down two per cent from last year and from farmers’ planting intentions as forecast by StatsCan in April. They would be Canada’s smallest wheat area in six years.

StatsCan will estimate plantings on June 29.

Canada is one of the world’s biggest wheat exporters and the largest canola exporter.

Actual wheat and canola plantings are likely to be slightly smaller than StatsCan’s estimates next week, as some farmers told StatsCan’s surveyors they planned to plant the crops, but ran out of time before seeding deadlines to qualify for crop insurance, said Chuck Penner, analyst at LeftField Commodity Research.

StatsCan surveyed farmers from May 26 through June 12.

— Rod Nickel is a Reuters correspondent covering the agriculture and mining sectors from Winnipeg.

Table: Trade estimates for Statistics Canada’s report on 2017 crop planting, in millions of acres.

Average Lowest Highest StatsCan Apr.  . StatsCan
estimate.    . estimate.   . estimate.  . intentions 2016
All wheat 22.7 21.7 23.5 23.1817 23.212
Durum 5.0 4.9 5.1 5.145 6.19
Canola 22.2 20.9 22.9 22.3871 20.3671
Oats 3.4 3.1 3.5 3.419 2.8343
Barley 6.0 5.6 6.4 5.88 6.3901
Peas 4.0 3.8 4.2 3.989 4.239
Flax 1.0 0.9 1.2 1.115 0.935
Corn 3.6 3.2 3.7 3.7511 3.3246
Lentils 4.4 4.2 4.9 4.385 5.86
Soybeans.   . 7.0 6.9 7.4 6.9556 5.4671

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