Thursday's seeded acre estimates could be a case of déjà vu, given that many producers in the Prairies were still in the field when the surveys were being conducted. Last October/November, final 2016 production surveys were being done when many producers were struggling to finish combining.
Final 2016 production data was based on farm surveys conducted between Oct. 21 and Nov. 13, as reported by Statistics Canada. The Alberta Crop report shows only 87.2% of the province's harvest complete, as of Nov. 15, which ranged from 99.9% in the South to a low of 76.4% in the North East Region of the province. Saskatchewan Agriculture had a break in the release of weekly crop reports, but reported the harvest being 82% complete as of Oct. 24, then released a final report as of Nov. 21 to estimate that 95% of the acres had been taken off.
In 2016, the June farm survey of seeded acres was completed between May 27 and June 12, with 24,500 farms contacted. Assuming a similar range of dates for this spring's survey, a great deal of land was yet to be covered when the calls were made. The attached chart shows the estimates for seeded acres by crop for Saskatchewan (blue bars) as of May 29 and Alberta (brown bars) as of May 30. While planting for some southern crops such as durum and lentils were nearing completion, a great deal of the spring wheat, barley, oats and canola remained to be planted. Producers contacted in this period could only provide their best guesses for the following weeks.
Thursday's Principal field crop areas report will be released at 7:30 a.m. CDT.
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Cliff Jamieson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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