Situation report — February 2012

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Total stocks of major crops down at year end

As of December 31, 2011, total stocks of most principal field crops, including commercial and on-farm inventories, were down compared with the same date in 2010, according to the February 3rd release of Statistics Canada's Field Crop Series (Stocks of Principal Field Crops).

The December Farm Survey of 10,560 Canadian farmers is a survey of stocks of principal field crops conducted from January 3 to 10, 2012. Farmers were asked to report the amounts of grain, oilseeds and special crops in on-farm storage. Data on commercial stocks of western major crops originate from the Canadian Grain Commission. Commercial stocks of corn and soybeans are estimated by a Statistics Canada sample of grain elevators in Eastern Canada. Data on commercial stocks of special crops originate from a survey of handlers and marketing agents of special crops.

Despite record production of canola in 2011, total stocks declined for the second consecutive year, down 1.5% to 9.3 million metric tonnes.

On-farm stocks of all types of wheat fell 4.0% to 16.3 million metric tonnes. However, commercial stocks increased 20.9% to 4.7 million metric tonnes. As a result, total stocks edged up 0.6% from December 31, 2010, to just under 21.0 million metric tonnes, despite a 9.0% increase in wheat production in 2011. The decline in on-farm stocks at the national level was the result of a decrease in on-farm storage in Saskatchewan and significant declines in production and on-farm storage in Manitoba.

Total stocks of corn for grain fell 4.0% to 8.6 million metric tonnes in reflecting the 2011 decline in production. However, on-farm stocks rose 1.5% to 6.8 million metric tonnes, the result of a 4.9% increase in on-farm stocks in Ontario, where they reached a record high.

Total stocks of oats and barley fell 14.5% and 9.6% respectively, despite production increases in 2011. Declines in total stocks have been recorded for the last three years for both of these crops.

For soybeans, total stocks rose 0.6% to 2.6 million metric tonnes, despite a production decrease of 2.3% in 2011. On-farm stocks increased 20.2% to 1.8 million metric tonnes. This increase was driven by record on-farm storage levels of 1.1 million metric tonnes in Ontario. Meanwhile, commercial stocks fell 26.9% to 770 000 metric tonnes, their lowest level since 2003.

Pulse and Special Crops acreage to increase for most crops

For 2012/13, total area seeded to pulses and special crops is forecast to increase by 9% from last year to 2.6 million hectares according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's publication Canada: Pulses and Special Crops Outlook. The areas seeded for dry peas, dry beans, chickpeas, mustard seed, canary seed and sunflower seed are expected to increase while lentil area is expected to decline for the second year in a row.

Total production is expected to rise by 10% from last year. However, supply is expected to fall slightly due to lower carry-in stocks. Total exports are expected to rise while domestic use is expected to decline.

USDA forecasts increase in global wheat supplies

The United States Department of Agriculture projects global wheat supplies to be 1.9 million metric tonnes higher with larger beginning stocks in Kazakhstan and increased production for India, Kazakhstan, and Morocco.

Global trade of wheat is raised slightly for 2011/12 with world imports increasing 0.7 million metric tonnes. Global wheat consumption is reduced 0.9 million metric tonnes mostly reflecting a reduction in food use wheat in India.

Reduced corn production causes coarse grain stocks to drop

Global coarse grain (corn, barley, oats and rye) supplies for 2011/12 are projected to be 2.8 million metric tonnes lower largely due to reduced corn production projections in Argentina and Paraguay. Partly offsetting the reduction are small corn production increases for EU-27 and the Philippines. Global barley production is raised with Argentina production up 0.6 million metric tonnes on higher reported area and yields for the crop that was harvested during late 2011.

Global coarse grain trade for 2011/12 is raised with higher corn imports for EU-27 and higher barley imports for Saudi Arabia, EU-27, and Jordan. Partly offsetting is a reduction in corn imports for Canada.

Global oilseed production and stocks down

Global oilseed production for 2011/12 is projected at 410.5 million metric tonnes, down 4.5 million metric tonnes from last month.

Global oilseed trade for 2011/12 is projected to be down 2.4 million metric tonnes mainly reflecting reduced soybean export projections for Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. Soybean imports are reduced for China, EU-27, South Korea, Russia, and several Middle East countries. Global oilseed ending stocks are projected at 64.6 million metric tonnes, down 3.3 million metric tonnes from last month. Reduced soybean stocks in Brazil and Argentina account for most of the change.