Canada’s wheat harvest this year will rise to its second-best on record, lifted by a rise in sowings, as farmers switch some area out of the likes of canola and barley, officials said.
AAFC, Canada’s farm ministry, in its first forecasts for 2020-21, pegged the domestic wheat harvest at 33.90m tonnes – a result which would represent an increase of more than 1.5m tonnes year on year and the second largest on data going back to 1908.
The record, of 37.59m tonnes, was set seven years ago.
The improvement expect for the 2020 wheat harvest reflects expectations of a rise in plantings, which will rise to 10.43m hectares, the highest since those of the record 2013-14 season.
‘Good prices, strong demand’
The extra area will be focused on durum, the wheat used to make pasta, which will attract an extra 300,000 hectares in seedings, taking them to 2.28m hectares.
The forecast for durum expansion increased reflects “relatively good prices”, which AAFC sees averaging Can$245-275 a tonne for the class in 2019-20, a figure which, at the top of the range, would represent a three-year high.
Oats will also prove more popular, with Canadian farmers expected to raise seedings by some 130,000 hectares from last season to a 12-year high of 1.59m hectares, encouraged by “good prices and strong demand”.
AAFC forecast oat prices in 2019-20, as measured by the average value of spot Chicago futures, at Can$240-270 a tonne – a figure which, at the top end of the range, would be the highest since 2013-14.
The expansions will come in part at the expense of canola, which will suffer a third successive season of sowings decline – this time by 180,000 hectares to a seven-year low of 8.30m hectares.
“Seeded area is forecast to decrease as farmers seed slightly more wheat and coarse grains at the expense of oilseeds and pulses and special crops,” AAFC said.
Canola prices, as measured in Vancouver, are forecast by the ministry at Can$460-490 a tonne this season - a range which, at best, represents a five-year low, and at the bottom end of the range would be the weakest in a decade.
Canadian canola prices have been undermined by the country’s spat with China, after the arrest in Vancouver of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei,
Other crops expected to witness an area reduction include barley, sowings of which were forecast shrinking by nearly 100,000 hectares to 2.90m hectares.
“The area seeded barley in Canada is forecast to decease by 3% due to the sharp increase in carry-in stocks and lower prices.”
Corn, soybeans and chickpeas will also suffer drops in sowings.