Canadian farmers cut wheat sowings further than had been expected,
switching land into oilseeds and lentils, official data showed – although recent
rains have raised some concerns over the data.
Canadian officials pegged the country's wheat area for
harvest this year at 24.09m acres, down 679,000 acres from their previous estimate, in March, and a drop of 1.93m acres year on year.
The decline for area in the third-ranked wheat exporter reflected in part a raised forecast for the
amount of winter wheat lost to winterkill.
However, spring wheat sowing, at 17.64m acres, was 342,000
acres below the previous forecast, taking the year-on-year decline to 1.41m
Farmers planted less barley and corn than originally thought
too, the Statistics Canada data showed.
Oilseeds in vogue
Land released from grains has been switched largely to
oilseeds, with canola area pegged at 20.23m acres, up 427,000 acres on the
previous estimate, and meaning that farmers ditched plans to reduce sowings.
However, soybeans also proved more popular than initially
expected, with the sowings estimate upgraded by 319,000 acres to 5.58m acres.
Canada crop sowings, change on previous estimate and (on last year)
All wheat: 24.087m acres, -679,000 acres, (-7.4%)
Incl spring wheat: 17.636m acres, -342,000 acres, (-7.4%)
Canola: 20.228m acres, +427,000 acres, (+1.5%)
Barley: 6.089m acres, -222,000 acres, (-14.0%)
Soybeans: 5.583m acres, +319,000 acres, (+24%)
Corn: 3.119m acres, -250,000 acres, (-15.5%)
Lentils: 3.24m acres, +380,000 acres, (+35%)
Source: Statistics Canada
"Soybean area could reach a record high for the sixth
successive year," StatsCan said.
"Farmers reported record levels in Quebec, Ontario,
Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Maritimes."
And lentil seedings were, at 3.24m acres, pegged 380,000
acres higher than previous thought – a 35% jump year on year.
However, StatsCan, whose estimates were based on data
collected between May 28 and June 10, acknowledged the threat to its forecast
from persistent rains which hampered plantings in some parts of the Prairies,
Canada's main agricultural region.
"Seeding is progressing well across Canada, but some farmers
have reported that wet conditions have delayed, or may stop seeding, in some
areas," StatsCan said.
CWB, the former western Canada grain export monopoly, said
that "wet conditions in Saskatchewan and Manitoba will likely have resulted in
2m acres going unseeded".
For canola, Anne Frick, at broker Jefferies Bache, said that
Friday's planting data, assuming a trend yield of 35 bushels per acre implied a
Canadian harvest of about 15.9m tonnes, down more than 2m tonnes on last year's
However, actual plantings "may fall short of the reported
figure as wet weather may have prevented some intended acreage from being
planted", Ms Frick said.
Rain, and more rain
Farm officials in Saskatchewan overnight said that, in some
part of the province, "many fields will remain unseeded due to excess moisture",
with rains over the last week varying from trace amounts to "well over 2 inches".
Manitoba staff on Monday, noting rainfall in some areas of
more than 3 inches last week, highlighted "unseeded acres due to excess
moisture occurring across Manitoba".
More rain is seen as on the way, with World Weather
forecasting that Canada's Prairies "will trend wetter this weekend with some flooding
rainfall expected in the Saskatchewan and a few western Manitoba locations.
"Heavy rain [is] likely to evolve Saturday into Sunday with lingering
showers Monday and again mostly Tuesday in Manitoba," with total rains from the
storm up to 4 inches locally.