StatCan report hits the mark with analysts

Most of the spring seeding intentions report close to industry expectations with the exception of canola estimates

Grain industry analysts don’t have much of a bone to pick with Statistics Canada’s seeding intentions report although they feel a few numbers need to be tweaked.

“For the most part the numbers weren’t too far off what we had been anticipating,” said Jon Driedger, senior market analyst with FarmLink Marketing Solutions.

The one major exception was the canola estimate of 19.3 million acres. FarmLink is forecasting about one million acres more.

“From an industry perspective I think that there’s a lot of confidence that number will end up being revised upward in future reports,” he said.

Marlene Boersch, managing partner of Mercantile Consulting Venture, agrees that the canola number should be higher.

“Canola is doing fairly well. Exports are going very, very well, so I don’t see that,” she said.

She also takes issue with the combined spring and winter wheat estimate of 17.7 million acres. Mercantile is forecasting 16.5 million acres of those two crops.

Driedger also expects a bigger drop in spring wheat than the six percent decline forecast by Statistics Canada.

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He feels the decrease will all happen within the hard red spring wheat category. Growers will likely plant more of the higher-yielding Canada Prairie Spring and general purpose classes of wheat.

Boersch believes the durum number should be flat, rather than up five percent.

Neither of the analysts were surprised by the forecast for a 30 percent rise in lentil acres and a 16 percent increase in peas.

“Every market signal in the world was saying plant as many lentils as you possibly can,” said Driedger.

“Farmers are trying to find every which way of doing it. They’re planting lentils in places they probably shouldn’t be.”

Boersch said she will closely monitor lentil yield prospects for that very reason.

“There will be a number of new growers and it is questionable if you can use the same average yields with the projections for those extra acres,” she said.

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Driedger is one of the few analysts who wasn’t taken aback by the forecast for 1.1 million acres of flax, which was well below trade estimates ranging from 1.5 to 1.8 million acres.

The 1.1 million acre estimate was right in line with what FarmLink’s 35 advisors had been telling him all winter.

He said most analysts were in line with the barley forecast of 6.8 million acres and the oat estimate of 3.0 million acres.

Boersch thought the oat number could be higher.

“In my travels in the winter it actually seemed to have a fair amount of interest,” she said.

Both analysts felt canaryseed will come in higher than Statistics Canada’s 300,000 acre forecast.

Summerfallow is forecast to fall 16 percent to a record low 2.2 million acres. Boersch has no problem with that estimate.

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“If you drive around in Manitoba you hardly ever see any and it’s becoming quite rare in Saskatchewan,” she said.