Canadian wheat production forecast higher than expected, August 24, 2010
by Jay Sjerven

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Statistics Canada on Aug. 20 forecast Canadian wheat production this year at 22,659,000 tonnes, down 15% from 26,514,600 tonnes in 2009. The forecast exceeded the range of pre-report trade estimates and was nearly 2.2 million tonnes higher than the most recent projection by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at 20.5 million tonnes.

“Total wheat production in the Prairies is expected to reach 20.5 million tonnes, a drop of 15.5% from 2009. Harvested area is expected to be down 3.3 million acres,” Statistics Canada said in commentary accompanying production estimates. “Manitoba and Saskatchewan farmers estimated decreases in production of 20.5% and 25.7%, while Alberta production is expected to rise 4.9%, the result of stronger anticipated yields.”

Production of spring wheat other than durum was projected at 16,966,300 tonnes, down 1,153,700 tonnes, or 6%, from 18,120,000 tonnes in 2009. Winter wheat production was estimated at 2,571,100 tonnes, down 423,900 tonnes, or 14%, from 2,995,000 tonnes a year ago. Durum production was projected at 3,121,600 tonnes, down 2,278,000 tonnes, or 42%, from 5,399,600 tonnes in 2009. The durum projection fell below the average of trade forecasts of 3.3 million tonnes.

Statistics Canada forecast 2010 canola production at 10,867,100 tonnes, down 8% from 11,825,400 tonnes in 2009. “Prairie farmers reported they expect to harvest 10.7 million tonnes of canola, down 977,400 tonnes from the 11.7 million tonnes reported in 2009,” Statistics Canada said. “The decline would be due to a drop in yield from an estimated 34.6 bus per acre to 30.7 bus per acre.”

Canadian oats production was forecast at 2,392,200 tonnes, down 15% from 2,798,200 tonnes in 2009 and down 44% from 4,273,000 tonnes in 2008. The 2010 barley crop was forecast at 8,488,000 tonnes, down 11% from 9,517,200 tonnes a year ago. Flaxseed production was forecast at 570,300 tonnes, down 39% from 930,100 tonnes in 2009. Corn production was forecast at 10,822,900 tonnes, up 13% from 9,561,200 tonnes in 2009.

Soybean production was forecast at 3,951,200 tonnes, up 13% from 3,506,800 tonnes last year. “Farmers in Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba predict increases in soybean production to record levels, the result of expected new high harvested area and robust yields in all three provinces,” Statistics Canada said.

Summerfallow (land on which no crop is grown during the year) was estimated at 12.1 million acres, an increase of 94% from the 6.2 million acres reported in 2009. “Summerfallow area has not been this high since 1999, when it was 15 million acres,” Statistics Canada said. The increased area left unplanted reflected excessively wet conditions during the spring that prevented planting of many fields.

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