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Farmers expect to plant more wheat, corn and oats in 2020

May 7, 2020  By Statistics Canada

As a result of the timing of the COVID-19 pandemic, these estimates were produced in March 2020 under exceptional circumstances. Active collection of data for the survey was halted earlier than originally planned in order to minimize burden on farm operators, resulting in a lower than usual response rate compared with previous years.

At this time, intended seeded area estimates cannot reflect the full impact on the crop sector as a result of COVID-19. Over time, as seeded area estimates are revised based on new data, a more comprehensive view of the impacts on seeding and production will be provided. Subsequent surveys during the year will provide estimates of actual seeded acreages.

Canadian farmers anticipate planting more acres of wheat, corn for grain and oats in 2020 compared to 2019. However seeding intentions for canola, soybeans, barley, dry peas and lentils are expected to be down from last year.


Planting intentions may have been influenced by several factors, including high global supply for some crops and ongoing trade issues, including tariffs.

Actual seeded area may differ from current intentions depending on these and other factors, including weather during seeding and delays in planting due to the ongoing spring harvest of the 2019 crop.


Nationally, farmers expect to plant 3.3 per cent more acres of wheat compared with 2019, to 25.4 million acres in 2020. Farmers expect to plant the same amount of spring wheat as last year (18.8 million acres), but anticipate higher durum (+6.8 per cent to 5.2 million acres) and winter wheat (+53.5 per cent to 1.4 million acres) seeded area. The expected increase in durum is likely due to higher prices, while the increase in winter wheat area is largely attributable to favourable winter conditions, which resulted in less winterkill than in 2019.

Saskatchewan farmers intend to plant 2.5 per cent more wheat in 2020 to 13.2 million acres, with durum wheat anticipated to increase 6.7 per cent to 4.4 million acres.

In Alberta, farmers expect to plant 1.3 per cent more wheat in 2020 to 7.5 million acres. While spring wheat is expected to remain relatively stable compared to 2019 at 6.6 million acres, durum wheat is anticipated to rise 9.9 per cent to 851,400 acres.

In Manitoba, wheat areas are anticipated to be at 3.1 million acres in 2020, down 1.3 per cent from a year earlier.


At the national level, farmers expect to seed fewer acres of canola compared to 2019, decreasing 1.6 per cent to 20.6 million acres in 2020.

If realized, this would be the second consecutive year of decrease in canola-seeded area at the national level and the lowest seeded area since 2013 as farmers shift away from oilseeds to other crops.

Saskatchewan farmers expect to plant 11.3 million acres of canola in 2020, down 2.3 per cent from 2019.

In Alberta, producers anticipate seeding 2.8 per cent fewer acres of canola to 5.8 million acres in 2020.

Manitoba farmers expect to seed 3.0 per cent more area of canola to 3.4 million acres.


Canadian farmers intend to plant 5.2 million acres of soybeans in 2020, down 8.7 per cent from 2019. The decrease in expected soybean area is likely due to lower prices.

Manitoba is expected to lead the decrease in soybean acreage, falling 17.6 per cent to 1.2 million acres, the lowest area since 2013 and the third consecutive year that seeded area in the province has declined. This anticipated decrease is likely the result of several years of poor yields caused by dry growing conditions.

In Ontario, farmers expect to plant 7.2 per cent fewer acres of soybeans to 2.9 million acres.

Farmers in Quebec expect seeded area to decline 1.7 per cent from 2019 to 890,400 acres.

Barley and oats

Nationally, farmers anticipate planting 7.2 million acres of barley in 2020, down 2.1 per cent from 2019, likely due to high barley stocks. Saskatchewan is expected to lead the decrease in barley area with a drop of 147,700 acres.

Canadian farmers intend to plant 6.3 per cent more acres of oats from a year earlier to 3.8 million acres. Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta all expect to plant more acres of oats in 2020. The increase in anticipated seeded area is likely attributable to higher prices and strong demand, due in part to higher feed use.

Corn for grain

Nationally, farmers expected to plant 3.2 per cent more acres of corn for grain compared with one year earlier to 3.8 million acres in 2020.

Farmers in Ontario, the largest corn for grain-producing province, anticipate a 4.5 per cent increase in planted area to 2.3 million acres. If realized, this would be the highest seeded acreage ever reported in the province.

Farmers in Quebec also anticipate planting more corn for grain (+2.9 per cent), while farmers in Manitoba expect to plant fewer acres of corn for grain (-4.9 per cent).

Lentils and peas

Farmers across Canada expect to plant 1.9 per cent less lentil acreage compared to 2019, to 3.7 million acres in 2020. The expected reduction in lentil area was driven by Saskatchewan, where area is anticipated to fall 1.9 per cent.

Dry pea area is anticipated to fall 1.2 per cent to 4.3 million acres. While Manitoba dry pea acreage is anticipated to increase (+46,200 acres), Alberta (-56,600 acres) and Saskatchewan (-46,200 acres) are expected to drive the overall decrease.


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