OTTAWA — Production of all crops in Canada in 2009 are expected to fall below year-ago levels with the exception of modest gains in soybeans and flaxseed, Statistics Canada said in its Estimate of Production of Principal Field Crops report today.

"In the West, late germination caused by unfavorable conditions this spring has held back progress by about two weeks compared to normal," Statistics Canada said. "Yields will drop for all major crops compared to 2008. In the drought-stricken areas of Saskatchewan and Alberta, higher-than-normal abandonment was also shown to be a factor in the loss of production. In Ontario and Quebec, excessive moisture and cool growing conditions held back growing progress."

Total Canadian wheat production was forecast at 23,614,200 tonnes, down 18% from 28,611,100 tonnes estimated July 31, 2008, including spring wheat at 16,150,100 tonnes, down 12%, durum at 4,519,200 tonnes, down 18%, and winter wheat at 2,944,900 tonnes, down 37%.

Oats production was forecast at 2,967,400 tonnes, down 31% from 4,272,600 tonnes in 2008. Oats outturn was expected to drop by 44% in Manitoba, 31% in Saskatchewan and 28% in Alberta.

The 2009 barley crop was forecast at 8,948,400 tonnes, down 24% from 11,781,400 tonnes.

Statistics Canada forecast canola production at 9,541,300 tonnes, down 25% from 12,642,900 tonnes in 2008.

Corn production was forecast at 9,437,300 tonnes, down 11% from 2008.

Dry edible bean production was seen at 217,600 tonnes, down 18%, and dry field peas at 3,113,000 tonnes, down 13%.

The only production increases were forecast for soybeans at 3,482,800 tonnes, up 4% from 3,335,900 tonnes in 2008, and for flaxseed at 915,000 tonnes, up 6% from 861,100 tonnes.

The preliminary estimates of 2009 production were based on a survey of 14,600 Canadian farmers taken between July 27 and Aug. 4. All year-ago comparisons made by Statistics Canada were to the initial forecasts as of July 31, 2008. The next production estimate will be released on Oct. 2.