Less canola and soybean, more wheat seeded in 2018

The largest changes noticed were in the amount of acres seeded for wheat and soybean in Statistics Canada's June Field Crop Survey.
Top Crop Manager
Tuesday, 03 July 2018 | Canada
By Top Crop Manager
In 2018, Canadian farmers reported seeding less land to canola and soybeans - crops that were both at record levels in 2017, according to the results of Statistics Canada’s June Field Crop Survey on seeded areas.

Seeded acreage of dry peas and lentils have also decreased this year, potentially as a result of tariffs imposed by India. Meanwhile, the areas seeded to all wheat varieties and barley have increased from 2017.

At the time of survey, seeding was well under way or completed in most provinces across Canada, in part due to warm weather. The dry conditions that prevailed in late spring could have an impact on future crop development. Across Canada, recent provincial crop reports are reporting that some crops are being affected by dry conditions and showing signs of moisture stress already.

The largest changes noticed were in the amount of acres seeded for wheat and soybean.
  • Wheat area, 24.7 million acres seeded, 10.4 per cent increase
  • Soybean area, 6.3 million acres seeded, 13.2 per cent decrease
  • Canola area, 22.7 million acres seeded, 1.1 per cent decrease
  • Corn for grain area, 3.6 million acres seeded, 1.6 per cent increase

Wheat
Canadian farmers reported an overall increase in the area sown to all wheat varieties in 2018, up 10.4 per cent to 24.7 million acres. The gain was mainly driven by a 9.5 per cent rise in spring wheat seeded area, which increased by 1.5 million acres in 2018. Durum wheat seeded area rose by 980,400 acres (+18.8 per cent), which has also contributed to the gain of wheat area sown in 2018.

Saskatchewan farmers reported the area seeded to all varieties of wheat increased for the first time in four years, up 14.6 per cent in 2018 to 13.0 million acres. The overall gain was the result of a rise in spring wheat seeded area, which increased 12.5 per cent to 7.8 million acres.

Producers in Alberta reported that areas seeded to all wheat varieties increased 6.6 per cent from 2017, to 7.5 million acres. The overall growth was driven by gains in both spring wheat (+6.9 per cent) and durum wheat (+8.7 per cent) seeded area.

Manitoba producers reported that their area sown to all varieties of wheat increased by 7.5 per cent in 2018. Similar to the other Prairie provinces, the increase in Manitoba was driven by a gain in spring wheat seeded area (+8.7 per cent).

Canola
Canadian farmers reported seeding 22.7 million acres of canola in 2018, down 1.1 per cent from 23.0 million acres in 2017.

The overall decline in canola area was the result of reduced areas in Saskatchewan and Alberta. The seeded area reported by Saskatchewan farmers was down 3.5 per cent from 2017 to 12.3 million acres. In Alberta, producers sowed 6.8 million acres (-1.7 per cent). Meanwhile, in Manitoba, producers reported that their area seeded to canola increased 8.1 per cent in 2018 to 3.4 million acres, potentially at the expense of soybean acreage that decreased this year.

Soybeans
In 2018, the area sown to soybeans was down 13.2 per cent from 2017 to 6.3 million acres. The four largest producing provinces in the country—Ontario, Manitoba, Quebec and Saskatchewan—all planted fewer acres.

According to a recent Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada outlook for principal field crops report, attractive wheat prices, dry weather across Western provinces where most of the decline occurred, and burdensome world soybean supplies all contributed to this year's acreage decline.

In Ontario, area seeded to soybeans was 3.0 million acres, down 1.8 per cent from a year ago. For the first time in a decade, Manitoba farmers planted fewer soybean acres, down 17.5 per cent to 1.9 million acres in 2018.

In Quebec, the area planted to soybeans was down 7.0 per cent from 2017 to 915,000 acres. Saskatchewan farmers also reported fewer acres, seeding 407,500 acres, a decline of 52.1 per cent from last year.

Corn for grain
Canadian farmers reported their total acreage seeded to corn for grain remained relatively stable at 3.6 million acres in 2018, up 1.6 per cent from 2017.

In Ontario, the largest producing province, farmers planted 2.2 million acres of corn for grain, an increase of 1.7 per cent compared with 2017.

In Quebec, farmers reported a 1.5 per cent increase from 2017, seeding 953,000 acres of corn for grain in 2018. Area seeded to corn for grain in Manitoba also rose in 2018, up 4.4 per cent to a record 428,000 acres.

Barley and oats
Total area seeded to barley rose 12.7 per cent from last year to 6.5 million acres in 2018. Alberta farmers planted 3.1 million acres, up 9.3 per cent from 2017. Saskatchewan's area sown to barley increased 15.8 per cent to 2.7 million acres.

Canadian farmers reported seeding 3.1 million acres of oats, down 4.6 per cent from 2017. In Saskatchewan, area sown to oats fell 15.4 per cent to 1.4 million acres. In Alberta, farmers reported seeding 795,100 acres of oats, up 15.2 per cent from 2017.

Lentils and peas
Canadian farmers reported that areas seeded to lentils decreased 14.5 per cent in 2018 to 3.8 million acres. Acreage seeded to dry peas fell 12.0 per cent to 3.6 million acres.

Saskatchewan farmers reported decreases in both lentils (-14.6 per cent) and dry peas (-10.6 per cent). Similarly, Alberta farmers reported a 13.4 per cent drop in lentil seeded area and a 16.0 per cent decrease in area seeded to dry peas.

The June Field Crop Survey is part of Statistics Canada’s field crop reporting series. The series tracks four key variables: the areas seeded and harvested, the yields obtained, the production levels attained and the on-farm stocks levels at precise times during the crop year.

This report is also accessible on the Statistics Canada site with additional notes on methodology. 

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