Statistics Canada sees surprisingly big canola, wheat harvests

WINNIPEG, Manitoba/OTTAWA, Dec 6 – Canadian farmers harvested larger crops than expected this autumn, reaping record-large canola output and surprisingly big wheat and durum crops, a Statistics Canada report showed on Wednesday.

Dry weather in some areas in the summer and a late harvest in Western Canada made the size of crops in the world’s biggest canola exporter uncertain, but autumn weather was generally dry and beneficial for big yields.

Canola production topped 21.3 million tonnes, eight percent higher than Statscan’s September estimate, and more than 1 million tonnes larger than the average trade estimate in a Reuters survey.

The Statistics Canada report was based on surveys with 26,800 Canadian farmers conducted from Oct. 20 to Nov. 13.

“It’s a record by a long shot, (but) not necessarily a surprise because we had big canola yields in a lot of places in Canada,” said Brian Voth, president of farmer advisory firm IntelliFarm Inc, on a conference call arranged by MGEX.

Even so, southern Alberta and southern Saskatchewan canola yields were limited by excessively hot, dry weather, Voth said.

“There’s going to be some debate over this (report).”

ICE Canada January canola futures as of 11 am CST were down 0.9 percent. Minneapolis December wheat was down 1.36 percent. Commodities generally are down today.

Many commercial dealers expected a canola harvest this large all along, said Ryan Longhenry, who trades canola for Riverland Ag Corp in Minnesota.

“There is enough demand there to keep supply from getting too heavy, but for the near term it should keep (canola prices) from following the bean complex higher.”

StatsCan estimated Canada’s all-wheat harvest at 30 million tonnes, down 5.5 percent year over year. But the estimate exceeded StatsCan’s previous estimate by 10.5 percent and easily surpassed the average trade expectation of 28 million tonnes.

Today’s report puts durum at 4.962 million tonnes, up from 4.299 million in September. (previous version of this story had wrong information for current durum estimate)

The spring wheat crop today is 22.167 million tonnes, up from 20.075 million in September.

Minneapolis December spring wheat futures shrugged off the report, rising 0.8 percent.

StatsCan’s canola and wheat estimates topped the highest trade guesses before the report.

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