Yields to take precedence over acres in Canada

(Dave Bedard photo)

CNS Canada –– Canadian farmers seeded a bit more canola and a bit less wheat than originally expected, according to updated acreage estimates from Statistics Canada, released Tuesday.

However, worsening drought conditions in the western Prairies over the past month and the need for reseeding due to frost damage earlier in June mean actual yields will be much more important than the acreage base going forward.

StatsCan pegged canola area at 19.84 million acres, up from 19.416 million in the agency’s April forecast, but still below the 2014 level of 20.325 million acres.

However, the bulk of the survey was conducted before farmers likely had a clear picture of how many acres were reseeded due to frost in Manitoba and eastern Saskatchewan. Lack of moisture in large portions of Saskatchewan and Alberta will also likely lead to some abandoned fields and lost yields.

“For some of these crops, we’ll see a fair number of acres abandoned,” said Chuck Penner of Leftfield Commodity Research.

“The ultimate number will be the harvested acreage, as well as the yield potential of that,” said Mike Jubinville of ProFarmer Canada. “The general mindset is ‘deterioration’ on both fronts, and I suspect the harvested acres will be down and the yield potential will be down as well.”

All wheat acres were down slightly in StatsCan’s report, although durum was a little higher. The agency pegged wheat plantings at 24.281 million acres, down from the 24.765 million forecast in April and in line with the 24.189 million acres seeded in 2014.

Of that total, durum area was estimated at 5.75 million acres, at the high end of trade guesses and well above the 4.75 million acres seeded in 2014.

With all of the concerns over dryness and poor growing conditions, “any adjustments around the margins on seeded area are pretty quickly overwhelmed by yield estimates and the percentage of acres that actually get harvested,” said Jon Driedger of FarmLink Marketing Solutions.

For some of the smaller crops, lentil area was up by about 500,000 acres from the previous report at 3.87 million acres. That was in line with trade guesses and compares with the 3.120 million seeded the previous year. Increased lentil acres will help offset the lower yield potential to some extent, Penner said.

However, pea acres were down a bit from the previous report, at 3.705 million acres, which he said would be supportive for prices. Canadian farmers seeded 3.795 million acres of peas in 2014.

Flaxseed area was pegged at 1.69 million acres by StatsCan, up from both the previous estimate of 1.630 million and the 1.555 million seeded in 2014.

Canadian barley acres were pegged at 6.511 million acres, in line with the previous estimate of 6.478 million and above the 5.88 million seeded the previous year. Oats area, at 3.403 million acres, was revised slightly lower from the previous report, but still above the 2.798 million acres seeded in 2014.

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 report for the period ended June 11, 2015. Pre-report expectations are provided for comparison purposes. “All wheat” includes winter wheat remaining. Figures are in million acres.

StatsCan Pre-report StatsCan StatsCan
  June 2015.    . estimates.                . March 2015.  . 2014-15
Canola 19.840 19.000 – 20.400 19.416 20.325
All wheat.   . 24.281 24.200 – 25.800 24.765 24.189
Durum 5.750 5.300 – 5.700 5.500 4.750
Barley 6.511 6.100 – 6.900 6.478 5.880
Flaxseed 1.690 1.500 – 1.700 1.630 1.555
Oats 3.403 3.200 – 3.800 3.645 2.798

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

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