By Regina Leader-Post
Record canola crop predicted
The news on the harvest is positive, particularly in Saskatchewan, where above average crop production is expected, including a record canola crop, according to projections from Statistics Canada.
Statistics Canada is projecting above-average crop production in Saskatchewan for 2008, and a record canola crop, according to mid-harvest survey results released Thursday.
Canola production is forecast at a record 4.7 million tonnes, up from the previous record of 4.5 million tonnes in 2005, StatsCan said. The forecast is based on average production of 28.3 bushels per acre, up from the five-year average of 25.5 bushels peracre.
Saskatchewan accounts for nearly half of Canadian canola production.
Wheat (excluding durum) is forecast at 7.7 million tonnes, up 27.6 percent from 6.05 million tonnes in 2007, which was a 30-year low. While wheat production was up in 2008, it's a far cry from the record 14.9 million tonnes produced in 1991.
Barley production is expected to be 4.4 million tonnes, up 11.8 percent from 3.95 million tonnes in 2007, while oats is projected to be down 2.8 percent to 2.3 million tonnes from 2.4 million tonnes in 2007.
Field peas are projected to be up 12.2 percent to 2.6 million tonnes from 2.3 million tonnes in 2007.
Overall, the 2008 crop looks to be above average in terms of production based on current yield estimates, said David Burroughs of StatsCan's agriculture division in Ottawa.
Burroughs stressed that the forecast is based on a survey of farmers across Canada Sept. 2-9 when roughly 20 percent of crop was the bin in Saskatchewan.
However, he doesn't expect the final production numbers to vary greatly from the estimate. "If the crop deteriorates, it will be reflected in (lower) quality, rather than quantity. (Actual production) may be higher if the yields are what they saw they are,'' Burroughs added.
Across Canada, most of the main crops tracked by Statistics Canada are expected to have increased production by double-digit percentages this year. Production boosts are expected for durum wheat, non-durum wheat, canola, dry field peas, soybeans, flaxseed and barley, the federal agency said. Declines, however, are anticipated in the production of grain corn, oats and dry beans.
Canola production is expected to be 10.9 million tonnes this year, up 14.1 percent from last year's record of 9.5 million. About 99 percent of canola in Canada is grown on the Prairies.
Total wheat production is expected to hit 27.3 million tonnes, up 36 percent from last year.
Soybean production is anticipated to be up 20.2 percent to 3.2 million tonnes. About 90 per cent of the country's soybeans are grown in Ontario and Quebec, and the latter's contribution should be up more than 30 percent to a record 615,000 tonnes.
Grain corn production is expected to be down 15.1 percent to 9.9 million tonnes.
Statistics Canada has said that part of the reason for decreased corn production this year is a greater focus on soybeans in Quebec, where much of the country's corn production is concentrated.
Both corn and soybeans have seen price increases over the last year, but soybean production costs are lower.