DTN 360 weekly polls provide readers the opportunity to provide input on a variety of issues related to Canada's agriculture industry. Here is a summary of the responses received in recent polls.
In late November, a poll was released asking about the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) monthly Business Barometer and its monthly data that shows business sentiment in agriculture near the lowest among 13 industry groups reported. The question was whether this data should be believed.
Of the four choices presented, an overwhelming response, or 78% of all respondents, chose Choice 1, which stated Yes, the degree of uncertainty faced in agriculture remains higher than most other industries. Responses from Saskatchewan and Ontario unanimously chose this option, while Alberta was close behind. The lowest response of all the provinces for this choice was in Manitoba, at just 40%, with an equal number of respondents indicating that making comparisons across business sectors is difficult.
Also in late November, a question was presented asking how readers see cash rent costs changing in their areas in the upcoming crop year. An overwhelming response points to cash rent rates expected to remain steady (50%) to higher (34%).
Readers were asked in late October which crops they were most likely to hold this crop year for improved marketing opportunities. Of the seven choices presented, 54% of respondents chose wheat as the crop they would be most inclined to hold, the largest response seen for any crop. The next largest selection was canola, which received 19% of responses. Responses were received for five of the seven crop choices, with no responses received for pulse crops or durum.
When asked in mid-February which crop shows the best profit margin for 2018, only four of eight possible choices were selected, with the largest response, nearly two-thirds of responses, pointing to canola as showing the most promise. An additional 15% selected soybeans, while a similar percentage of responses went with Other Crops. Saskatchewan and Alberta respondents almost entirely chose canola, while Ontario responses were somewhat split between corn and soybeans and Manitoba responses were nearly split between soybeans and Other Crops.
When asked what the biggest story was in Canadian agriculture in 2017, 46% of responses selected Choice 2, the agriculture industry fought federal government tax changes. The next largest response, or 22% of responses, chose India introduced barriers to pulses imports. Of the eight selections presented, only two others generated a response. The first was the Southern Prairies faced the driest summer in 70 years, while the second was Canada struggles to renegotiate NAFTA while the Trans-Pacific Partnership slips further out of reach. This breakdown can be seen on the attached graphic.
A more recent poll asked if you agree with the large year-over-year increase in Dec. 31 canola stocks as reported by Statistics Canada. The majority, or 70%, of all responses selected Choice 2, or No, I think stocks are overestimated. It is interesting to note that this selection was far more popular in Alberta and Saskatchewan than it was in Manitoba. Manitoba selections were spread almost evenly across the first selection, which states they agree with the stocks as reported, the second selection that states that stocks are overstated, as well as selection 4 that stated "I do not follow the stocks report."
Another recent poll asked if readers feel that acres seeded to pulses will fall to the extent shown by AAFC in its early forecasts for 2018. Sixty percent of responses selected Choice 1, or pulse acres will fall as much as expected, as short-term risks tied to market access are too high. Interestingly enough, the next most popular response was Choice 3, or "I think pulse acres could come close to last year." That one was selected by 20% of respondents. Manitoba and Saskatchewan responses seemed too support the notion that acres will fall as indicated in early forecasts, while Alberta responses showed more variability with half the responses indicating that acres could come close to last year's levels.
We always appreciate reader input and would like to offer our thanks for contributions to the DTN 360 Poll. This week's poll points to the International Energy Agency forecasting that Canada's oil-by-rail movement will double from historical highs over the next two years, and asks if the agriculture industry should be concerned. You can weigh in with your thoughts on this poll located at the lower-right side of the DTN Canada Home Page.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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