Principal field crops, March 2012 (intentions)

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Early intentions for planting in 2012 show increases in spring wheat and durum wheat compared with 2011, and a possible record acreage of canola.

Indications are also that soybean acreage could reach a record high nationally. In the East, farmers anticipate seeding a record area of corn for grain.

Farmers may modify their plans prior to planting time as a result of economic and environmental conditions. Some farmers indicated that they were still undecided about their final strategies for 2012.

Possible record acreage for canola

Survey results indicate that Canadian farmers may seed a record 20.4 million acres of canola in 2012, up 8.0% or 1.5 million acres from the previous record of 18.9 million acres set in 2011. This would be the sixth consecutive annual record in canola area at the national level.

This increase is driven by Saskatchewan, where farmers anticipate increasing their canola area 9.9% to a record high of 10.8 million acres.

In Manitoba, farmers reported intentions to plant more canola, returning to pre-flood levels after being hit hard in 2011. They now intend to seed 3.3 million acres in canola, a 19.3% increase from the 2.7 million acres seeded in 2011.

Area for wheat expected to increase

At the national level, spring wheat area could rise 9.0% or 1.4 million acres to 17.2 million acres in 2012.

Similarly, durum wheat acreage is expected to increase for a second consecutive year, to 5.1 million acres in 2012 from 4.0 million acres in 2011.

In Saskatchewan, intentions show spring wheat acreage rising to 8.6 million acres, up 14.7% or 1.1 million acres. Durum wheat acreage in Saskatchewan is expected to rise 28.1%, or 975,000 acres, to 4.5 million acres.

In Manitoba, farmers anticipate that their seeded area of spring wheat will rise 24.9% in 2012 to 2.5 million acres.

In Alberta, however, early intentions are for 5.9 million acres of spring wheat, down 2.3% from the area seeded in 2011.

Potential for record acreage of corn for grain in the East

In Ontario, farmers expect to seed a record 2.24 million acres of corn for grain, up by 335,000 acres or 17.6% from 2011. This would break the previous record of 2.17 million acres set in 1981.

In Quebec, farmers anticipate the area seeded in corn for grain to rise 16.2% to just over one million acres in 2012.

Soybean acreage on the rise

Nationally, farmers are expecting to seed a soybean area of nearly 4.0 million acres in 2012, up from 3.8 million acres the previous year. This would be a record high.

Ontario farmers anticipate seeding 2.5 million acres of soybeans in 2012. If these intentions are realized, this level would surpass the record seeded area set in 2010 and unchanged in 2011.

Conversely, Quebec farmers plan to plant fewer acres of soybeans in 2012. Survey results show a 16.0% decline from 741,300 acres in 2011 to 622,700 acres in 2012. It would be the first decline in acres seeded to soybeans in Quebec since 2007.

Manitoba farmers anticipate seeding 800,000 acres in 2012, which would represent a fourth consecutive annual record high. If this increase and the intended decline in Quebec soybean area are realized, Manitoba would have the second-largest soybean area after Ontario.

Note to readers

The March Farm Survey, which collects information on crop planting intentions, was conducted between March 23 and 30, 2012, with about 13,400 farmers. They were asked to report their intended plantings of grain, oilseeds and special crops.

Subsequent surveys during the year will provide estimates of actual seeded acreages. Data on final acreages for 2012 will be released on December 5, 2012, and will be subject to revision for two years.

Available without charge in CANSIM: tables CANSIM table001-0010 and CANSIM table001-0017.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey numbers survey number3401 and survey number3465.

The publication Field Crop Reporting Series: "March Intentions of Principal Field Crop Areas", Vol. 91, no. 2 (Catalogue number22-002-X, free), is now available from the Key resource module of our website under Publications.

The stocks of principal field crops at March 31 will be released on May 7.

For more information, contact Statistics' Canada National Contact Centre (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 613-951-8116;

To enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact Yves Gilbert (613-951-2577; or Craig Byrd (613-951-5138;, Agriculture Division.