Canada Markets

More Yield Revisions to Come for Alberta

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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The blue and grey bars represent the last available August Good to Excellent crop condition for Alberta wheat and canola from 2011 through 2016, along with the most recent Aug. 9 ratings for 2016. The yellow and orange lines with markers indicated the final Statistics Canada estimated yields for Alberta from 2011 through 2015, along with the Aug. 9 Alberta Agriculture estimate.

The trade is bracing for a big crop to come off in Alberta, with summer rains shrinking the driest areas of the province situated in the southern and central regions. The Good to Excellent crop ratings for the province reached a low this season for spring wheat in the week ending June 28 of 80%, while the most recent Aug. 9 estimate showed a season high of 84.1%. The same can be said for canola, with an Aug. 9 provincial crop condition rating at 79.6% in the week ending June 28, while the most recent rating was reported at 85.5%.

While provincial yield estimates were revised slightly higher from the July 26 estimate to the Aug. 9 estimate for spring wheat and canola, two crops chosen for this study, current estimates are bound to be very conservative given the condition ratings applied, as indicated on the attached chart.

Here we can see that the Aug. 18, 2015 condition ratings were reported at 29.5% for spring wheat and 25.3% for canola, the last ratings released for the season prior to harvest. The final spring wheat yield was estimated by Statistics Canada's final estimates released in December at 47.2 bushels per acre and canola at 39.7 bpa.

The stark improvement in crop conditions this season has led to only a modest increase in expected yields, as indicated by the Aug. 9 yield estimate of 50.8 bpa for spring wheat, or 3.6 bpa year-over-year increase in yield despite a 185% increase in the Good to Excellent crop condition rating. The Aug. 9 canola yield estimate was 42.7 bpa, a 3 bpa year-over-year yield increase despite a 238% year-over-year improvement in the crop condition rating.

The same can be said when comparing average yields achieved over the 2011-through-2015 period along with the average August crop condition rating for the same period (last reported data prior to harvest each year). In the case of spring wheat, the current yield estimate for 2015 is slightly lower than the five-year average estimated yield, even though the current crop condition is roughly 15 percentage points higher. The estimated yield for 2016 canola in Alberta is 3.6 bpa higher than the five-year average for the province while the current crop condition rating is 18.8 percentage points higher than the five-year average.

2016 could be a case of big crops get bigger. Statistics Canada will release their first production estimates for the season on Tuesday August 23.


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