Canadian producers are looking at a record corn for grain crop this fall, according to Statistics Canada's field crop estimates.
September 26, 2018 By Top Crop Manager
Statistics Canada’s model-based principal field crop estimates forecast record production of 14.5 million tonnes of corn for grain. The last time corn for grain production was forecasted this high was in 2013, with a forecasted production of 14.2 million tonnes. While there have been dips and spikes in production, overall production for corn for grain has increased steadily over the years in Canada.
In 2013, there were 3.7 million harvested acres of corn for grain. In 2018, there are 3.6 million harvested acres of corn for grain but a 2 per cent increase in forecasted production. This trend could point to a growth in yield potential for the crop. In Manitoba, according to crop insurance reports to the Manitoba Agricultural Services Corporation, the average grain corn yield has climbed 25 per cent over the past several years.
Canola production is estimated to be 21.0 million tonnes in 2018, while soybean production is estimated to be 7.5 million tonnes.
Despite dry conditions earlier in the growing season, recent weather changes, particularly in the Prairies, have improved the overall conditions and the outlook on production is better than originally estimated in July.
Production is estimated to increase in 2018 compared with 2017 for total wheat, spring wheat, durum wheat, barley, chick peas, corn for grain, dry beans, mixed grains, mustard seed, and sunflowers.
At the same time, production is estimated to be down in 2018 compared with the previous year for canary seed, canola, dry peas, flaxseed, fall rye, lentils, oats, soybeans, and winter wheat.
Total wheat production in Canada is estimated to be 31.0 million tonnes in 2018, an increase of 3.5 per cent over 2017. An overall decline in estimated total wheat yield to 46.9 bushels per acre somewhat offset a 9.4 per cent increase in harvested area compared with 2017.
Yields are estimated to drop from last year for durum wheat (-2.0 per cent to 34.6 bushels per acre), spring wheat (-4.8 per cent to 49.5 bushels per acre) and winter wheat (-4.1 per cent to 72.8 bushels per acre). Although climatic conditions were a concern in mid-summer, slightly cooler temperatures than normal in August reversed some of the downward pressure on yields (see map).
Spring wheat harvested area in 2018 is anticipated to be up 8.7 per cent compared with 2017. Production is expected to increase 4.1 per cent in Saskatchewan to 9.1 million tonnes in 2018. Alberta production is expected to increase 5.0 per cent to 9.2 million tonnes, while production in Manitoba is expected to decrease 1.3 per cent to 4.2 million tonnes. Average spring wheat yields in the Prairie provinces are expected to be lower compared with 2017, with decreases estimated in Manitoba (-8.9 per cent to 54.5 bushels per acre), Saskatchewan (-6.9 per cent to 43.2 bushels per acre) and Alberta (-0.7 per cent to 55.1 bushels per acre). An increase of 8.7 per cent in harvested area at the national level is expected to offset the lower yields, resulting in an overall increase in production for spring wheat to 22.9 million tonnes, up 3.4 per cent compared with 2017.
Durum wheat production at the national level is expected to be 5.7 million tonnes in 2018, up 15.0 per cent from 2017. Although yield is expected to be 34.6 bushels per acre, down 2.0 per cent from the previous year, production is expected to increase, the result of a 17.3 per cent rise in harvested area over 2017.
Canola production is estimated to be 21.0 million tonnes for 2018, down 1.5 per cent from 2017. Although the 2018 canola yield at 41.1 bushels per acre is marginally higher (+0.2 per cent) than 2017, a 1.7 per cent decline in harvested area will translate into a 1.5 per cent decrease in national production. Hot, dry weather was a concern earlier this summer, however, some relief in August improved the canola yield estimates across the Prairies from earlier forecasts. Current yield estimates include 40.7 bushels per acre in Manitoba, 40.8 bushels per acre in Saskatchewan, and 42.0 bushels per acre for Alberta.
Corn for grain
At the national level, corn for grain production is estimated to be a record at 14.5 million tonnes in 2018, up 2.6 per cent from 2017. The increase in production is the result of a similar increase in harvested area (+2.4 per cent) from 2017, with yield for 2018 estimated at 160.1 bushels per acre.
Ontario is estimated to produce a record 9.1 million tonnes of corn for grain based on a record yield estimate of 169.3 bushels per acre, up 1.4 per cent from 2017. The previous record yield for Ontario was 169.0 bushels per acre in 2015. Quebec corn for grain production is estimated at 3.8 million tonnes in 2018.
Soybean yield for 2018 is estimated at 44.1 bushels per acre (+12.8 per cent) at the national level. Despite the increase in yield, an anticipated decline of 13.7 per cent in harvested area to 6.3 million acres is expected to result in a production estimate of 7.5 million tonnes for 2018, down 2.6 per cent from 2017.
Ontario is estimated to produce 4.0 million tonnes of Canada’s soybeans, or 53.3 per cent of the national production in 2018. Manitoba is second at 1.9 million tonnes, or 25.3 per cent of the country’s capacity. That is a substantial increase from the 36,700 tonnes produced in 2001, when Statistics Canada first reported soybean production in Manitoba.