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Principal field crop areas, March 2019

Released: 2019-04-24

Canadian farmers anticipate planting more acres of wheat, corn, dry peas and oats in 2019 compared with 2018, while seeding intentions for canola, soybeans and lentils have declined relative to the previous year.

Planting intentions may have been influenced by ongoing issues, including lower prices for some crops as a result of global supply, tariffs and decreased foreign demand due to ongoing trade issues.

Data on actual seeded area, to be released in June, may differ from current intentions depending on these and other factors, including weather or natural disasters such as flooding.

Given the intention of farmers to plant a greater area of wheat, corn, and dry field peas, there is an expected increase in seeded area for grains, pulse and special crops, while oilseeds are anticipated to decrease given lower seeded area of canola and soybeans.

Wheat

Canadian farmers intended to plant 25.7 million acres of wheat in 2019, up 3.8% from 2018. Seeding intentions indicate that area allotted to spring wheat will increase 12.0% to 19.4 million acres compared with the previous year, while durum wheat acreage is expected to decrease 18.8% to 5.0 million acres. The anticipated decline in durum wheat area is the largest since 2010, when seeded area declined by more than 2.5 million acres.

Farmers in Alberta anticipate planting 7.6 million acres of wheat, up 1.7% year over year, while the seeded area of spring wheat is expected to rise 7.9% to 6.8 million acres.

In Saskatchewan, producers expect total wheat area to increase 2.7% to 13.3 million acres in 2019. Spring wheat is expected to rise 14.7% compared with the previous year, to 9.0 million acres. The gain in spring wheat area is expected to be offset by a 15.4% decrease in durum wheat to 4.2 million acres.

Manitoba farmers anticipate planting 3.3 million acres of wheat in 2019, up 12.7% from 2018.

Canola

Nationally, farmers expect to plant 6.6% less acres of canola, to 21.3 million acres in 2019 compared with the previous year. If seeding intentions are realized, this would represent the lowest seeded area of canola since 2016 and 1.6% lower than the five-year average of 21.7 million acres.

Record high year-end stocks for the 2018 calendar year, coupled with concerns regarding limited access to China's canola market, possibly affected anticipated seeding area. These factors have contributed to lower than average prices, which may have some farmers considering seeding fewer acres of canola or other crops. However, resolution of trade concerns or increased canola prices could alter final seeding decisions.

Saskatchewan farmers reported expecting to plant 11.7 million acres of canola in 2019, down from 12.4 million acres in 2018.

Alberta farmers lead the expected decline in seeded area of canola, reporting 6.1 million acres, down 724,700 acres (-10.6%) from 2018.

Producers in Manitoba also anticipate seeding fewer acres of canola, with expected seeded area declining from 3.4 million acres in 2018 to 3.3 million acres in 2019.

Soybeans

Nationally, farmers in Canada expect to seed 5.6 million acres of soybeans in 2019, down 10.7% from 6.3 million acres in 2018. Dry conditions over the past two years in Western Canada contributed to lower yields, which may have contributed to some farmers deciding to decrease seeded area of soybeans.

Manitoba was the main contributor to the decrease in expected soybean area, with farmers expecting to plant 319,000 fewer acres from the previous year, at 1.6 million acres. This is the second consecutive year that farmers expect to plant less soybeans in the province, falling to the smallest area since 2015.

Meanwhile, farmers in Ontario expect seeded area to decline 3.8% from 2018 to 2.9 million acres.

Quebec farmers expect to plant 845,700 acres in 2019, down 7.6% from the previous year and the lowest soybean area since 2013.

Barley and oats

At the national level, farmers expect to seed more acres of barley compared with 2018. Larger expected seeded area in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta could push total anticipated area up 10.2% to 7.2 million acres in 2019.

Similarly, producers anticipate seeding 7.8% more acres of oats compared with the previous year, to 3.3 million acres in 2019. The expected increase is led by Saskatchewan, up 175,400 acres (+12.5%) compared with 2018.

Corn for grain

Nationwide, farmers anticipate planting 3.8 million acres of corn for grain, up 4.6% from 2018.

In Ontario, producers expect to plant a record 2.2 million acres of corn for grain, up 3.3% year over year, while Quebec farmers expect to plant 992,200 acres, up 4.1%.

Conversely, Manitoba farmers expect to plant 1.7% fewer acres of corn for grain, at 413,700 acres.

Lentils and peas

Canadian farmers expect to plant 9.6% fewer acres of lentils from the previous year, at 3.4 million acres in 2019. The anticipated decline is led by Saskatchewan farmers, who expect a 7.9% decrease in lentil area to 3.1 million acres.

An anticipated decrease in lentil area is likely influenced by ongoing tariffs on Canadian crops from major importers such as India, which has led to high Canadian lentil stocks and lower prices over the past year.

Meanwhile, producers expect to plant 11.6% more acres of dry field peas, rising from 3.6 million acres in 2018 to 4.0 million acres in 2019. The increase in anticipated area is driven by Saskatchewan (+12.0%) and Alberta (+12.3%).


  Note to readers

The first iteration of the 2019 Field Crop Survey (March), which collects information on crop planting intentions, was conducted from March 1 to March 31, 2019, and included about 11,500 farmers. Farmers were asked to report their planting intentions for grain, oilseeds and special crops. Please note that data collection for the March iteration of the Field Crop Survey occurred after current trade issues related to Canola arose. All collection for this iteration of the Field Crop Survey began after such issues began. Statistics Canada is confident that intentions reported by farmers account for the ongoing situation.

Subsequent surveys during the year will provide estimates of actual seeded acreages. Data on final acreages for 2019 will be released on December 6, 2019, and will be subject to revision for two years.

Field Crop surveys collect data from Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta at all survey cycles. However, they collect data twice a year (in the June iteration of the Field Crop Survey on seeded areas and in the November iteration of the Field Crop Survey on final production) for Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and British Columbia, which represent from 2% to 4% of national totals. Therefore, Canadian totals for March include carry-over data for these provinces from their preceding November survey, and Canadian totals for July include carry-over data for these same provinces from their preceding June survey.

Release calendar: The dates for upcoming releases of stocks, areas and production of principal field crops are available online.

In this release, percentage changes are calculated using unrounded data.

Data for March 2019 are compared with final 2018 data.

An easy-to-print chart, Crop Reporting at a Glance, which provides an overview of our survey cycle is now available.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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