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StatsCan: Lower yields in all principal field crops except grain corn in 2021


December 9, 2021
By Statistics Canada

Canadian farmers produced more corn for grain but less wheat, canola, barley, soybeans and oats in 2021 compared with 2020. Lower yields were driven largely by drought conditions in Western Canada, which resulted in lower production.

Despite favourable spring seeding conditions across most of Canada, extremely hot and dry weather impacted crop development during the growing season in Western Canada. In Eastern Canada, temperatures were near normal throughout much of the growing season, with sufficient moisture in southern Ontario and the Atlantic provinces, while much of Quebec faced dry conditions.

Warm and dry conditions throughout the fall provided farm operators the opportunity to complete harvest well ahead of the normal timeframe across much of the country.

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Map 1: Departure from average precipitation (in millimetres) from April 1 to Oct. 11, 2021 (during the growing season), compared with annual average, by province

Thumbnail for map 1: Departure from average precipitation (in millimetres) from April 1 to October 11, 2021 (during the growing season), compared with annual average, by province

Because of challenging growing conditions, several major field crops grown predominantly in Western Canada experienced their largest year-over-year yield decrease on record, falling to levels not seen in more than a decade. By contrast, yields for certain crops grown in Eastern Canada, such as corn for grain, rose due to favourable growing conditions.

Chart 1: National yield of selected field crops

Chart 1: National yield of selected field crops

Lower harvested area and yields push wheat production down

Total wheat production fell 38.5 per cent to 21.7 million tonnes in 2021 because of lower production in the Prairies. Yields (-33.3 per cent to 34.8 bushels per acre) and harvested area (-7.7 per cent to 22.8 million acres) were both down from 2020.

In Saskatchewan, wheat yields decreased by 43.4 per cent to 26.0 bushels per acre, while harvested area decreased by 8.3 per cent to 11.7 million acres, resulting in a 48.1 per cent drop in wheat production to 8.3 million tonnes.

Both yield (-38.4 per cent to 34.4 bushels per acre) and harvested area (-7.5 per cent to 6.7 million acres) decreased in Alberta, resulting in a 42.9 per cent decrease in production to 6.3 million tonnes.

In Manitoba, wheat production was down 28.9 per cent to 3.8 million tonnes. Yields decreased by 21.9 per cent to 47.9 bushels per acre, while harvested area fell 8.9 per cent.

Canola production falls to lowest level since 2007 on poor yields

Canola production decreased by 35.4 per cent nationally to 12.6 million tonnes in 2021, as the drought in Western Canada resulted in the lowest yield since 2007. Yields decreased by 40.2 per cent to 25.0 bushels per acre, offsetting higher harvested area (+8.2 per cent to 22.3 million acres).

In Saskatchewan, canola production was down 45.4 per cent to 6.0 million tonnes, driven by lower yields (-48.5 per cent to 22.0 bushels per acre) offsetting higher harvested area (+6.2 per cent to 12.0 million acres).

Canola yield in Alberta decreased by 31.1 per cent to 27.7 bushels per acre, while harvested area rose 16.3 per cent, resulting in a 19.9 per cent production decrease to 4.2 million tonnes compared with 2020.

In Manitoba, canola production fell 28.2 per cent to 2.3 million tonnes. Harvested area increased by 0.3 per cent to 3.4 million acres, while yields fell 28.3 per cent to 29.7 bushels per acre.

Higher corn for grain production as yields rise

Nationally, the total corn for grain production rose 3.1 per cent to 14.0 million tonnes in 2021. Harvested area fell 1.3 per cent to 3.4 million acres, while yields rose 4.4 per cent to 160.2 bushels per acre.

Ontario farmers reported that harvested area decreased by 0.5 per cent to 2.1 million acres in 2021. The decrease in harvested area was offset by higher yields, which rose 6.9 per cent to a record-high 175.2 bushels per acre, bringing production up 6.4 per cent from 2020 to 9.5 million tonnes.

Corn for grain production in Quebec was up 4.7 per cent from 2020, to 3.4 million tonnes. Harvested area fell 0.6 per cent to 882,300 acres, while yields rose 5.5 per cent to 152.6 bushels per acre.

Farmers report producing fewer soybeans

Soybean production decreased by 1.4 per cent nationally to 6.3 million tonnes in 2021. A 5.6 per cent decrease in yields offset a 4.5 per cent increase in harvested area. Lower national production was largely driven by lower yields in Manitoba, owing to drought conditions throughout the growing season.

Ontario soybean production rose 4.4 per cent to 4.1 million tonnes on higher yields (+1.8 per cent to 51.6 bushels per acre) and higher harvested area (+2.5 per cent to 2.9 million acres).

In Manitoba, soybean production fell 17.1 per cent to 963,800 tonnes, despite a 14.1 per cent increase in harvested area (1.3 million acres). Yields were down 27.3 per cent to 27.1 bushels per acre as a result of poor growing conditions.

Soybean production in Quebec fell 5.0 per cent from 2020 to 1.1 million tonnes. The decrease in yield (-8.7 per cent to 44.2 bushels per acre) more than offset a 4.1 per cent increase in harvested area.

Barley and oat production fall

Barley production fell 35.3 per cent to 6.9 million tonnes in 2021. While harvested area rose (+6.9 per cent to 7.4 million acres), yields fell (-39.5 per cent to 43.0 bushels per acre) because of dry conditions in Western Canada.

Total oat production decreased by 43.0 per cent nationally to 2.6 million tonnes, on lower harvested areas (-15.4 per cent to 2.7 million acres) and lower yields (-32.6 per cent to 61.5 bushels per acre).

For the most up-to-date production numbers and year-over-year data, visit the Statistics Canada website.