Business & Policy
Principal field crop stocks as of March 31, 2020
By Statistics Canada
Stocks of wheat, barley and oats were up on March 31 compared to the same date in 2019, while stocks of canola, corn for grain, soybeans, dry field peas and lentils were down. The increase in wheat, barley and oat stocks was generally a result of higher on-farm stocks.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the March estimates of on-farm stocks were produced under exceptional circumstances. Active data collection for the survey was halted earlier than originally planned to minimize burden on farm operators, resulting in a lower response rate than in previous years. Data related to commercial stocks have not been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 situation.
Total wheat stocks increased 1.6 per cent year-over-year to 17.8 million tonnes as of March 31. The increase was led by on-farm stocks, up 5.4 per cent to 13.8 million tonnes, while commercial stocks decreased 9.7 per cent to 4.0 million tonnes.
At the national level, deliveries of wheat fell 4.7 per cent to 18.9 million tonnes. In addition, exports of total wheat were down 10.5 per cent from the previous year to 13.9 million tonnes. The decline in exports was likely due to increased global wheat production and more competition from other exporters, who benefited from closer proximity to markets and lower costs.
Domestic use of wheat for livestock feed rose 23.6 per cent to 4.4 million tonnes because of higher use of wheat for livestock feed in Alberta and Saskatchewan, following a shortage of hay.
On-farm stocks in Alberta accounted for the largest share of the year-over-year increase, rising 11.5 per cent to 5.6 million tonnes. On-farm stocks in Saskatchewan were up 4.0 per cent to 5.9 million tonnes.
Canola stocks were down 12.3 per cent year-over-year to 8.9 million tonnes as of March 31, largely attributable to a 16.0 per cent decline in on-farm stocks to 7.4 million tonnes. Commercial stocks rose 11.7 per cent to 1.5 million tonnes.
Deliveries of canola grew 7.6 per cent from the previous year to 13.6 million tonnes, while industrial use increased 11.1 per cent to a record high 6.8 million tonnes.
Despite higher exports to several countries, year-to-date canola exports fell 1.2 per cent to 6.3 million tonnes. This was the lowest level since 2015, mostly because of lower exports to China. At the end of March, it was confirmed that trade restrictions on canola exported to China would remain in place for the time being.
Corn for grain
Corn for grain stocks were down 3.4 per cent year-over-year to 8.0 million tonnes as of March 31. On-farm stocks decreased 5.6 per cent to 5.5 million tonnes, while commercial stocks increased 1.9 per cent year-over-year to 2.5 million tonnes.
Total stocks of soybeans declined 12.4 per cent year-over-year to 2.8 million tonnes as of March 31. On-farm stocks were down 15.7 per cent to 1.7 million tonnes, while commercial stocks decreased 6.9 per cent to 1.1 million tonnes.
Soybean exports fell 33.6 per cent to 2.6 million tonnes, the lowest level since March 2013.
Barley and oats
Total barley stocks rose 31.8 per cent year-over-year to 3.5 million tonnes as of March 31. Both on-farm (+32.3 per cent) and commercial (+27.8 per cent) stocks increased year-over-year.
Higher supply (+16.9 per cent) and lower exports (-13.2 per cent) largely contributed to higher total stocks of barley as of March 31. However, this was partly offset by a 23.0 per cent increase in barely used for feed, to 5.7 million tonnes.
Oat stocks were up 11.2 per cent year-over-year to 1.7 million tonnes as of March 31. On-farm stocks increased 3.2 per cent to 1.3 million tonnes, while commercial stocks rose 54.4 per cent to 369,400 tonnes.
Dry peas and lentils
At the national level, stocks of dry field peas fell 1.5 per cent year-over-year to 1.8 million tonnes as of March 31, 2020. Commercial stocks increased 4.1 per cent to 404,700 tonnes, while on-farm stocks declined 3.0 per cent to 1.4 million tonnes.
Despite the higher supply (+7.8 per cent) of dry field peas, increased exports (+22.4 per cent) pushed total stocks down. Dry pea exports rose year-over-year from 2.0 million tonnes to 2.5 million tonnes.
Total stocks of lentils decreased 24.5 per cent year-over-year to 1.1 million tonnes. This decrease was attributable to lower on-farm (-27.2 per cent) and commercial (-4.3 per cent) stocks.
Lentil exports rose 15.7 per cent year-over-year to 1.5 million tonnes.