No surprises in StatsCan’s acreage count

Canadian farmers planted a little more canola and a little less wheat compared to early intentions, but Statistics Canada’s updated acreage estimates, released Tuesday, were largely in line with trade expectations.

With few surprises in the numbers, attention in the grains and oilseeds was expected to turn to weather conditions over the course of the growing season.

StatsCan on Tuesday pegged planted canola area in 2013 at 19.738 million acres, up from the March estimate of 19.133 million, but in line with trade guesses. Canadian farmers planted 21.531 million acres of canola in 2012.

While there had been some concerns over the late start to spring seeding this year, “in the end planting in Western Canada went fairly quickly and smoothly, aside from a few pockets,” said Ken Ball of PI Financial in Winnipeg.

“The focus for canola is the growing conditions,” added Jerry Klassen of GAP Grains and Produits in Winnipeg, noting the crop was entering its critical growing period.

While canola acres are up by about 600,000 from earlier intentions, the number is not overly bearish, said Mike Jubinville of ProFarmer Canada in Winnipeg.

Solid demand will “eat up all the available tonnage,” which will keep attention focused on growing conditions over the summer, he said.

All-wheat area was pegged at 26.178 million acres, down from the 26.719 million forecast in March but still well above the 23.798 million seeded the previous year. Of that total, durum area was pegged at 4.88 million acres — below trade guesses but still slightly above the 4.68 million seeded in 2012.

While the all-wheat number was generally considered market-neutral, the durum market will look at this as supportive, said Klassen.

In addition, unseeded durum area in North Dakota should draw more attention to the Canadian crop, said Jubinville.

StatsCan pegged barley area at 7.175 million acres — in line with trade guesses and down from the 7.405 million seeded in 2012. Oats area came in at 3.371 million, relatively unchanged from March but above the 2.854 million planted the previous year.

Pea and lentil acres are both in line with year-ago levels, at 3.37 million and 2.455 million acres respectively. Lentils saw the largest change from the March report, with acres up by about 400,000 from early intentions.

Summerfallow — the amount of unseeded acres — was pegged Tuesday at 3.495 million acres. That compares with 4.153 million the previous year.

Jubinville said summerfallow could rise in subsequent reports, taking some area away from wheat, canola and oats, given the wet conditions that likely kept some land from being seeded this spring.

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


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