Canada's wheat sowing fall further than expected

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 acres.

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.

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

However, soybeans also proved more popular than initially expected, with the sowings estimate upgraded by 319,000 acres to 5.58m acres.

"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.

Planting losses

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 bumper crop.

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.

Hangover from rail woes dents Canada canola hopes
Canada lentil area to rise even more than forecast
Canada growers make surprise cut to canola sowings
Agricultural Commodities
Agricultural Markets
Agricultural Companies
Agricultural Events