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Stocks of principal field crops, March 31, 2020

Released: 2020-05-07

Stocks of wheat, barley and oats were up on March 31 compared with the same date in 2019, while stocks of canola, corn for grain, soybeans, dry field peas and lentils were down. The increase in wheat, barley and oat stocks was generally a result of higher on-farm stocks.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the March estimates of on-farm stocks were produced under exceptional circumstances. Active data collection for the survey was halted earlier than originally planned to minimize burden on farm operators, resulting in a lower response rate than in previous years. Data related to commercial stocks have not been affected by the ongoing COVID-19 situation.


Total wheat stocks increased 1.6% year over year to 17.8 million tonnes as of March 31. The increase was led by on-farm stocks, up 5.4% to 13.8 million tonnes, while commercial stocks decreased 9.7% to 4.0 million tonnes.

At the national level, deliveries of wheat fell 4.7% to 18.9 million tonnes. In addition, exports of total wheat were down 10.5% from the previous year to 13.9 million tonnes. The decline in exports was likely due to increased global wheat production and more competition from other exporters, who benefited from closer proximity to markets and lower costs.

Domestic use of wheat for livestock feed rose 23.6% to 4.4 million tonnes, because of higher use of wheat for livestock feed in Alberta and Saskatchewan following a shortage of hay.

On-farm stocks in Alberta accounted for the largest share of the year-over-year increase, rising 11.5% to 5.6 million tonnes. On-farm stocks in Saskatchewan were up 4.0% to 5.9 million tonnes.


Canola stocks were down 12.3% year over year to 8.9 million tonnes as of March 31, largely attributable to a 16.0% decline in on-farm stocks to 7.4 million tonnes. Commercial stocks rose 11.7% to 1.5 million tonnes.

Deliveries of canola grew 7.6% from the previous year to 13.6 million tonnes, while industrial use increased 11.1% to a record high 6.8 million tonnes.

Despite higher exports to several countries, year-to-date canola exports fell 1.2% to 6.3 million tonnes. This was the lowest level since 2015, mostly because of lower exports to China. At the end of March, it was confirmed that trade restrictions on canola exported to China would remain in place for the time being.

Corn for grain

Corn for grain stocks were down 3.4% year over year to 8.0 million tonnes as of March 31. On-farm stocks decreased 5.6% to 5.5 million tonnes, while commercial stocks increased 1.9% year over year to 2.5 million tonnes.


Total stocks of soybeans declined 12.4% year over year to 2.8 million tonnes as of March 31. On-farm stocks were down 15.7% to 1.7 million tonnes, while commercial stocks decreased 6.9% to 1.1 million tonnes.

Soybean exports fell 33.6% to 2.6 million tonnes, the lowest level since March 2013.

Barley and oats

Total barley stocks rose 31.8% year over year to 3.5 million tonnes as of March 31. Both on-farm (+32.3%) and commercial (+27.8%) stocks increased year over year.

Higher supply (+16.9%) and lower exports (-13.2%) largely contributed to higher total stocks of barley as of March 31. However, this was partly offset by a 23.0% increase in barely used for feed, to 5.7 million tonnes.

Oat stocks were up 11.2% year over year to 1.7 million tonnes as of March 31. On-farm stocks increased 3.2% to 1.3 million tonnes, while commercial stocks rose 54.4% to 369 400 tonnes.

Dry peas and lentils

At the national level, stocks of dry field peas fell 1.5% year over year to 1.8 million tonnes as of March 31, 2020. Commercial stocks increased 4.1% to 404 700 tonnes, while on-farm stocks declined 3.0% to 1.4 million tonnes.

Despite the higher supply (+7.8%) of dry field peas, increased exports (+22.4%) pushed total ending stocks down. Dry pea exports rose year over year from 2.0 million tonnes to 2.5 million tonnes.

Total stocks of lentils decreased 24.5% year over year to 1.1 million tonnes. This decrease was attributable to lower on-farm (-27.2%) and commercial (-4.3%) stocks.

Lentil exports rose 15.7% year over year to 1.5 million tonnes.

  Note to readers

The first iteration of the 2020 Field Crop Survey (March) is a survey of stocks of principal field crops conducted from March 2 to 30, 2020. Farmers were asked to report the amounts of grain, oilseeds and special crops in on-farm storage. The March, July and December editions of this survey also have two questions pertaining to permanent on-farm grain storage capacity and the percentage of grain stored on the farm using temporary storage methods.

These data are available upon request.

Because of the COVID-19 situation, active collection (telephone interviews) for the survey of on-farm stocks was halted on March 16, 2020. However, respondents continued to provide their information via electronic questionnaires. As a result, the current response rate is considerably lower than in other cycles.

Data on commercial stocks of western major crops originate from the Canadian Grain Commission. Data on commercial stocks of special crops originate from a survey of handlers and agents of special crops. Data on commercial stocks of corn and soybeans are based on data from Statistics Canada's survey of grain elevators in Eastern Canada.

National supply-disposition data for the major grains and special crops are published jointly with the current release on stock levels and are available in Statistics Canada data tables 32-10-0013 to 32-10-0015.

Data on stocks are subject to revisions during the two years following their initial publication.

Readers are invited to visit the Agriculture and Food Statistics portal for more data related to agriculture and food published by Statistics Canada.

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; or Media Relations (613-951-4636;

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