Prairie crop acres forecast to rise across the board

CNS Canada –– Just about every major crop grown in the Canadian Prairies is forecast to come out a winner in the annual fight for acres this year, with unseeded area the only place where reductions are forecast, according to early estimates.

“Most crops are likely to increase this year, just because we’ll get the flooded area back in,” said CWB analyst Bruce Burnett. He noted up to two million acres of cropland in Saskatchewan and western Manitoba were unseeded in 2014 due to adverse spring conditions.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada released its first projections for the 2015-16 crop year on Friday, pegging total seeded area to all principal field crops across the country at 75.34 million acres. That compares with the 72.14 million acres seeded to annual crops the previous year.

While the increased seeded area will be spread out across most crops, Burnett said pulses, such as lentils and peas, might see a larger percentage increase.

Pulse prices are reasonably good, he noted, while higher-quality supplies are on the tight side. As a result, those markets will need to encourage some extra acres to add to the inventories.

Of the cereal crops, Burnett said the biggest increases will be in durum, at least in the areas where the crop is traditionally grown, as prices are favourable compared to other grains.

For spring wheat and canola, Burnett expected intentions would be similar to last year with any increases in area more a function of a return to more normal spring conditions than anything else.

AAFC is currently forecasting canola seedings in 2015 at 20.76 million acres, which compares with 20.32 million the previous year. All wheat area is forecast at 24.98 million acres, up from 24.19 million in 2014. Of the wheat total, durum is forecast at 5.46 million acres, up from 4.75 million the previous year.

AAFC also forecasts total Canadian lentil seedings in 2015 at 3.46 million acres, which would be up from 3.11 million in 2014. Pea plantings are forecast at 3.95 million acres, from 3.78 million the previous year.

Actual acreages will depend on weather in spring and snowfall over the later part of the winter, said Burnett. Statistics Canada’s survey-based acreage estimates will be released on April 23.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

 

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