Canola up, wheat down in new seeded acreage report

Statistics Canada made some big adjustments in its June seeded acreage report, but the trade’s focus is elsewhere.

“The biggest concern right now is going to be production,” said Brian Voth, president of IntelliFARM.

“Acreage is only part of the story.”

He recently drove across southwestern Manitoba and southeastern Saskatchewan and saw a lot of canola fields that are looking rather patchy.

Fields in southern Manitoba are teetering on the edge of being too dry, and crops are showing signs of stress after an unusually hot June.

“In the last two weeks a lot of crops have been heat-blasted and were dropping flowers like crazy in that 30 degree weather,” said Voth.

That is what has captured his attention.

However, the Statistics Canada report was interesting because it corrected what many in the trade felt was an off-the-mark April seeding intentions report by increasing canola and decreasing wheat acres.

The agency estimates that growers seeded 22.7 million acres of canola, up from the April guess of 21.4 million acres.

“I’m not surprised,” said Voth.

“The number back in April when it came out made no sense at all.”

He believes the current estimate is far more believable, especially with some of the last-minute switching into canola that likely occurred because of the dry conditions at seeding time.

The wheat estimate of 24.7 million acres is down from the 25.25 million acre April forecast.

The biggest decline is in spring wheat, which at 17.3 million acres is down almost one million acres from April.

That temporarily ignited Minneapolis futures markets until the U.S. Department of Agriculture came out with its seeding intentions a few hours later calling for 12.6 million acres of spring wheat, up 600,000 acres from its March intentions report.

Statistics Canada bumped barley up half a million acres to 6.5 million acres. Voth said that makes sense because Alberta feed barley prices were attractive at seeding time.

Growers planted 6.3 million acres of soybeans, a one million acre decline from 2017. The vast majority of the reduction was in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

“Last year’s yields were the nail in the coffin,” said Voth.

Corn acres were essentially unchanged from last year at 3.6 million acres as were oats at 3.1 million acres.

Lentil plantings were reduced to 3.77 million acres, down from 4.05 million in April, while peas were trimmed to 3.6 million acres from 3.87 million in April.

“The carryout numbers and stocks-to-use numbers are just through the roof compared to last year,” said Voth.

Statistics Canada is forecasting 468,900 acres of chickpeas, triple the size of last year’s crop.

He believes growers needed to keep some pulses in their rotations, and chickpeas were the better performer.

Dry bean acres fell slightly to 300,800 acres, down from 333,100 last year.

Farmers planted a lot more mustard than last year with 503,800 acres going in the ground, a 31 percent increase.

Canaryseed fell slightly to 212,100 acres.

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