Early look at western Canada: major crop acres up, minors down

A few acres up in the major crops will appear as big reductions for pulses and some special crops this year.

However, there are exceptions.

Cereal and oilseed acres are expected to increase by about two percent, according to Agriculture Canada’s first seeding intentions analysis of the year. The effect on pulse and many specialty crops will be a drop of 20 percent.

Total acres are expected to increase this year because of reduced slough areas due to drought last year in the southern Prairies, and overall production is expected to climb by a couple of percentage points.

A continued lower Canadian dollar in the US80 cent range will support the value of the crops on the world market.

“Canadian wheat prices are forecast to be similar to 2016-17 as pressure from the higher world and Canadian supply and the stronger Canadian dollar is offset by support from the lower U.S. supply,” said Stan Skrypetz, who analyzed wheat for the crop outlook report.

Seeded area for wheat is expected to rise four percent, which includes an 11 percent drop in winter wheat. This runs counter to the global trend of lower planted acres for wheat because of large carryout stocks.

More durum will be planted this year in Western Canada, likely up about five percent, as lentils and pea acreage falls. U.S. producers are also expected to grow more durum, spurred on by low stocks of the crop and current higher than average prices. Despite the incentive to grow it, winter durum plantings in the U.S. fell 41 percent this season.

Canadian canola seeding may reach 21.5 million acres this spring because few other crops hold out the promise of the margins that the oilseed can provide.

A record harvest would be projected If that comes to pass, rising to 21.7 million tonnes, Chris Beckman said in his analysis of the sector. This would surpass last year’s record of 21.4 million.

Flax, which is projected to slightly increase in price, is expected to give up acres.

Peas production will fall about 22 percent because of lower prices, high carryouts and in some cases drought. Lentils will drop 27 percent in seeded area with softer prices and big global supplies, but this will lower Canadian carryouts.

The incentive to grow soybeans in Western Canada remains, with prices expected to rise slightly over the past season. However drought in longer season regions might keep the crop out of many producers’ plans.

Chickpea acres are expected to rise, with dry seeding conditions and good price support potentially boosting supplies by nearly one-third this year. However, global supplies remain high.

Mustard will see more acres as producers pencil in good returns because of low inventories and solid demand. Canaryseed acres are expected to be up because good margins persist despite slightly lower prices for 2018-19, according to Bobby Morgan, an Agriculture Canada pulse and special crop analyst.

Sunflower acres, both oil and confection, will remain average, as will prices for oil varieties. Confection prices are expected to rise.

Contact mike.raine@producer.com

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