Canada Markets

Statistics Canada Model-Based Crop Estimates

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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In 2015, final Statistics Canada production estimates exceeded the Aug. 31 model-based estimates by the indicated percentages for the selected crops. 2015 was the first year for the release of production estimates based on this methodology. (DTN graphic by Nick Scalise)

For the second straight year, Statistics Canada has released their Aug. 31 model-based production estimates for principal field crops grown in Canada. This analysis is referred to as a "supplemental release in advance of the September publication of the Field Crop Reporting Series," while is based on a joint effort between Statscan and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. The model itself is based on satellite data from StatsCan's Crop Condition Assessment Program, Statistics Canada survey data along with agroclimatic data.

Tuesday's model-based estimates point to a larger Canadian crop than estimated in the earlier-released survey-based estimates, which is not unexpected. The longer-term trend is for final estimates to confirm larger crops on average than estimated in earlier July estimates, while in 2015, final estimates were also higher than the model-based estimates as seen on the attached graphic.

Tuesday's spring wheat estimate was pegged at 20.553 million metric tons, approximately 306,000 metric tons higher than reported in the previous survey-based July estimates. This would suggest a 3% increase over the 2015 crop and would be roughly 520,000 mt lower than the five-year average spring wheat production. Also not unexpected, the size of the durum crop was estimated 505,000 mt higher than seen in the July estimates to 7.3115 mmt, 36% higher than achieved in 2015 and 41% higher than the five-year average.

Also not a surprise, Canada's canola crop was estimated at 18.3 mmt, well above the 17.023 mmt estimate previously released in the July estimates. This estimate is well within the range of pre-report estimates released prior to the Statscan survey-based release, where it was suggested the majority of the estimates were in the 18 mmt range. This puts 2016 production almost equal to the final 2015 production estimate, a welcome signal given the 19 mmt of demand realized in 2015-16.

Canada's soybean crop was estimated at 5.973 mmt, slightly higher than the July estimate while just slightly lower than the 6.235 mmt final estimate for the 2015 crop. Ontario's average yield was pegged at 44.1 bushels per acre as compared to the 41.6 bpa estimate released based on July estimates, although a recent crop tour conducted by Great Lakes Grain pegged the crop's potential at 47.6 bpa.

The country's corn crop was estimated at 13 mmt, 645,000 mt higher than the July estimate, while is 4.1% below 2015 production but still higher than the 12.7 mmt five-year average reported by Statscan. Statscan's survey-based analysis ended with a 153.5 bpa average yield for the province of Ontario, while this model-based analysis has pegged the province's average yield at 165 bpa. A recent Great Lakes Grain crop tour estimated yield at 153.3 bpa while DTN contributor and southwestern Ontario farmer Phil Shaw is leaning toward 145 bpa, just to highlight the wide range of estimates for the crop.

Three crops that saw estimates fall from the previous July estimates are lentils, barley and oats. Estimated lentil production at 2.8 mmt and barley production at 8.4 mmt are both lower than the previous estimate, although both remain higher than the final 2015 estimate as well as above their respective five-year averages. Given September supply and demand tables, barley ending stocks could remain unchanged in 2016-17 given this estimate. Lentil stocks could remain extremely tight given current demand estimates, although the mix of final grades could impact export projections. Oat production, estimated at 2.874 mmt, would be below last year and below the five-year average and could further contribute to a tight stocks situation for the crop in 2016-17.

The attached graphic highlights the likelihood that final production estimates could be revised higher yet.

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