By Statistics Canada
Canadian farmers reported seeding more land to lentils again this year, continuing the strong upward trend observed over the past four years. Seeding of soybeans and corn for grain increased, while canola was relatively unchanged from 2015. Meanwhile, the areas seeded to spring wheat, oats and barley fell in 2016.
Seeding of most crops was nearly completed in early June, ahead of the five-year average. Sowing conditions were generally positive this spring, with only a few localized areas reporting too little or too much moisture. Total crop land lying fallow in 2016 was at an all-time low.
Canadian farmers reported an overall decrease in the area sown to wheat this year, down 3.9 per cent to 23.2 million acres. The decline was the result of a 9.2 per cent drop in area seeded to spring wheat, which fell to 15.4 million acres in 2016. In contrast, the area seeded to durum wheat rose 4.8 per cent to 6.1 million acres.
Provincially, Saskatchewan farmers reported that total area seeded to all wheat decreased 7.1 per cent in 2016 to 12.1 million acres. Durum wheat seeded area, however, was constant year over year at five million acres. Total area seeded to spring wheat dropped 11.9 per cent to 6.9 million acres, a third consecutive decline for the province.
Alberta producers reported that their total wheat acreage fell 2.7 per cent from 2015 to 6.6 million acres. A drop in spring wheat acreage accounted for the decline, down 8.5 per cent to 5.4 million acres. However, durum wheat seeded area increased 34.1 per cent to 1.1 million acres in 2016, matching the record acreage seeded to durum in 2002.
Farmers in Manitoba reported seeding 2.8 million acres of spring wheat, down 3.8 per cent from 2015.
Canadian farmers reported seeding 20 million acres of canola in 2016, down slightly (-0.4 per cent) from the 20.1 million acres reported in 2015.
The overall decline in canola area was attributable to reduced seeded areas in Alberta (-4.3 per cent) and Manitoba (-1.6 per cent). Saskatchewan farmers reported a 2.1 per cent increase from the previous year, seeding 10.9 million acres of canola in 2016. In comparison, farmers in Alberta reported seeding 5.8 million acres, while farmers in Manitoba planted 3.1 million acres. Collectively, these three provinces accounted for nearly all of the canola seeded area in Canada.
Total area seeded to lentils reached a record high of 5.8 million acres in 2016, up 47.8 per cent from the record set in 2015.
Lentil area in Saskatchewan, which accounted for 90 per cent of total acreage in Canada, rose 42.6 per cent from last year to 5.3 million acres.
In addition, Alberta farmers more than doubled their planted acres of lentils this year, up 126 per cent to 565,000 acres.
In 2016, the total area seeded to soybeans grew one per cent to 5.5 million acres. This increase was the result of a rise in soybean acreage in Manitoba, which set a new record for the province this year.
In Ontario, the largest soybean producer in Canada, farmers seeded 2.7 million acres in 2016, down 6.4 per cent from last year. Ontario farmers reported using genetically modified seed for almost two-thirds of this area.
Manitoba farmers seeded a record high of 1.6 million acres in 2016, up 17.3 per cent from 2015. This was the ninth straight increase.
In Quebec, the area planted to soybeans was up 3.2 per cent from the previous year to 803,100 acres; genetically modified seed accounted for 63 per cent of this area.
Barley and oats
Nationally, the total area seeded to barley fell 2.2 per cent from 2015 to 6.4 million acres. Alberta and Saskatchewan represented almost 90 per cent of the total barley seeded area in 2016.
The total acreage seeded to oats dropped 14.3 per cent from 2015 to 2.9 million acres in 2016. Alberta was the only province where farmers reported an increase from the previous year in area seeded to oats.
Corn for grain
Canadian farmers reported planting 3.3 million acres of corn for grain in 2016, a 1.7 per cent increase from 2015.
In Ontario, farmers planted 2.1 million acres of corn for grain in 2016, an area similar to that of last year. The area seeded to corn for grain in Quebec edged down 1.4 per cent compared with last year to 889,600 acres. Farmers in Ontario reported that genetically modified seed made up 83 per cent of their total planted areas of corn for grain, while for Quebec farmers, it accounted for 86 per cent.
Meanwhile, farmers in Manitoba planted 325,000 acres of corn for grain in 2016, a 30 per cent increase compared with last year.