Sudden changes may be taking place in producers' seeding intentions ahead of spring with last week's announcement that China's importers were avoiding Canadian canola a possible catalyst.
While an argument can be made that the decisions already have been made and the inputs purchased, an informal Twitter poll conducted by realagricuture.com indicates 56% of respondents will maintain canola acres (weather permitting), while 20% plan to cut acres by 10% to 20%; 14% indicated a 50% reduction and 9% intend to shift out as many acres as possible.
In addition, Monday's media cycle included a piece from the Globe and Mail stating, "(Chinese)purchase plans for (Canadian) wheat, peas, flax seed and rapeseed meal have all been cancelled," according to a Chinese importer. Producer.com covered this article in a piece titled "China Restricts Canadian Wheat, Peas, Flax Imports," then later in the morning retracted, suggesting there are no restrictions on these commodities. The Western Canadian Wheat Growers released a press release calling for government to stand up for farmers given the growing list of commodities apparently banned by China. Canada's Agriculture Minister states that only canola is being banned. Rightly so, the industry is nervous and can ill afford trade barriers of any kind.
AAFC's March forecasts, released just days after the news broke last week, may have captured only a portion of this move. The January forecast included a modest 1.3% increase in canola acres, while the most recent March forecast points to a modest 2.5% cut in seeded acres to 22.239 million acres, which would be the smallest area seeded in three years but still higher than the five-year average.
The largest year-over-year shifts expected for the selected crops are seen in durum (-20.1%), lentils (-11.5%), wheat (8.7%), barley (14.2%), oats (13.4%) and flax (15.3%), with the year-over-year change reported in the March estimates in brackets.
The largest changes seen since AAFC released their first estimates in January are seen in an upward revision for barley from 6.5% to 14.2% above last year, while the forecast for oats is seen growing from 5.3% to 13.4% above last year.
Corn planting in Canada is expected to grow at the expense of soybeans, with corn acres estimated up 6.3% from 2018 while soybean acres are estimated down 3.2% from last year. The late spring experienced in the United States Midwest, which is currently viewed as bullish for corn prices and bearish for soybeans, could see this divergence in Canada grow further.
Statistics Canada's official acreage estimates based on producer surveys will be released April 24.
DTN 360 Poll
This week's poll asks how long you think Canada's canola trade dispute with China will last. You can share your thoughts on this week's poll, which is found at the lower right of your DTN Canada Home Page.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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