From Statistics Canada’s Principal Field Crop Areas Report
Canadian farmers anticipate planting more acres of wheat, corn, dry peas and oats in 2019 compared with 2018 while seeding intentions for canola, soybeans and lentils have declined relative to the previous year.
The Statistics Canada report, released on April 24, notes that planting intentions may have been influenced by ongoing issues, including lower prices for some crops as a result of global supply, tariffs and decreased foreign demand due to ongoing trade issues.
Data on actual seeded area, to be released in June, may differ from current intentions depending on these and other factors, including weather or natural disasters such as flooding.
Given the intention of farmers to plant a greater area of wheat, corn, and dry field peas, there is an expected increase in seeded area for grains, pulse and special crops, while oilseeds are anticipated to decrease given the lower seeded area of canola and soybeans.
Nationally, farmers in Canada expect to seed 5.6 million acres of soybeans in 2019, down 10.7% from 6.3 million acres in 2018. Dry conditions over the past two years in Western Canada contributed to lower yields, which may have contributed to some farmers deciding to decrease seeded area of soybeans.
Manitoba was the main contributor to the decrease in expected soybean area, with farmers expecting to plant 319,000 fewer acres from the previous year, at 1.6 million acres. This is the second consecutive year that farmers expect to plant fewer soybeans in the province, falling to the smallest area since 2015.
Meanwhile, farmers in Ontario expect seeded area to decline by 3.8% from 2018 to 2.9 million acres.
Quebec farmers expect to plant 845,700 acres in 2019, down 7.6% from the previous year and the lowest soybean area since 2013.
Corn for grain
Nationwide, farmers anticipate planting 3.8 million acres of corn for grain, up 4.6% from 2018.
In Ontario, producers expect to plant a record 2.2 million acres of corn for grain, up 3.3% year over year, while Quebec farmers expect to plant 992,200 acres, up 4.1%.
Conversely, Manitoba farmers expect to plant 1.7% fewer acres of corn for grain, at 413,700 acres.
Canadian farmers intended to plant 25.7 million acres of wheat in 2019, up 3.8% from 2018. Seeding intentions indicate that area allotted to spring wheat will increase by 12.0% to 19.4 million acres compared with the previous year, while durum wheat acreage is expected to decrease 18.8% to 5.0 million acres. The anticipated decline in durum wheat area is the largest since 2010 when seeded area declined by more than 2.5 million acres.
Farmers in Alberta anticipate planting 7.6 million acres of wheat, up 1.7% year over year, while the seeded area of spring wheat is expected to rise 7.9% to 6.8 million acres.
In Saskatchewan, producers expect the total wheat area to increase by 2.7% to 13.3 million acres in 2019. Spring wheat is expected to rise by 14.7% compared with the previous year, to 9.0 million acres. The gain in the spring wheat area is expected to be offset by a 15.4% decrease in durum wheat to 4.2 million acres.
Manitoba farmers anticipate planting 3.3 million acres of wheat in 2019, up 12.7% from 2018.
In Ontario, farmers intend to plant 113,000 acres of spring wheat, up 32% from 2018’s acreage of 85,400. Winter wheat remaining from the fall planting is 957,300. While the number is down from the 1 million acres planted, the remainder is 4% higher than the previous year.
Barley and oats
At the national level, farmers expect to seed more acres of barley compared with 2018. A larger expected seeded area in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta could push total anticipated area up 10.2% to 7.2 million acres in 2019.
Similarly, producers anticipate seeding 7.8% more acres of oats compared with the previous year, to 3.3 million acres in 2019. The expected increase is led by Saskatchewan, up 175,400 acres (+12.5%) compared with 2018.
Nationally, farmers expect to plant 6.6% fewer acres of canola, to 21.3 million acres in 2019 compared with the previous year. If seeding intentions are realized, this would represent the lowest seeded area of canola since 2016 and 1.6% lower than the five-year average of 21.7 million acres.
Record high year-end stocks for the 2018 calendar year, coupled with concerns regarding limited access to China’s canola market, possibly affected anticipated seeding area. These factors have contributed to lower than average prices, which may have some farmers considering seeding fewer acres of canola or other crops. However, resolution of trade concerns or increased canola prices could alter final seeding decisions.
Saskatchewan farmers reported expecting to plant 11.7 million acres of canola in 2019, down from 12.4 million acres in 2018.
Alberta farmers lead the expected decline in seeded area of canola, reporting 6.1 million acres, down 724,700 acres (-10.6%) from 2018.
Producers in Manitoba also anticipate seeding fewer acres of canola, with expected seeded area declining from 3.4 million acres in 2018 to 3.3 million acres in 2019.
Lentils and peas
Canadian farmers expect to plant 9.6% fewer acres of lentils from the previous year, at 3.4 million acres in 2019. The anticipated decline is led by Saskatchewan farmers, who expect a 7.9% decrease in lentil area to 3.1 million acres.
An anticipated decrease in lentil area is likely influenced by ongoing tariffs on Canadian crops from major importers such as India, which has led to high Canadian lentil stocks and lower prices over the past year.
Meanwhile, producers expect to plant 11.6% more acres of dry field peas, rising from 3.6 million acres in 2018 to 4.0 million acres in 2019. The increase in the anticipated area is driven by Saskatchewan (+12.0%) and Alberta (+12.3%).