Canada Markets

Historic March Acreage Estimates Versus Final Seeded Acres

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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This chart shows the percent change in seeded acres from the March intentions to the final seeded acres in 2018 (blue bars) and the 2014-2018 average (green bars). In 2018 and on average, the March seeding intentions report tends to understate seeded acres for durum, canola and barley, while overstating acres seeded to spring wheat, corn, oats, dry peas and flax. (DTN graphic by Cliff Jamieson)

Planting decisions may be more difficult for producers this spring given current trade barriers faced. On Tuesday, a Saskatchewan producer stated to the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food that a number of cropping options are facing trade restrictions to some degree, while producer after producer asked the federal government to step up its game with regards to current negotiations with China over the most recent ban on canola imports.

Forecasting planted acres will also be a challenge for Statistics Canada, with surveys typically conducted over most of the month of March, while news first broke of China's ban on canola imports from Richardson International in early March.

The attached chart points to past trends in Statistics Canada's seeded acre forecast, considering the percent change from Statistics Canada's March estimates to the final reported area. The blue bars indicate the change calculated in 2018, while the green bars represent the five-year average change (2014-2018).

Of the selected crops, the most consistent trends are seen in spring wheat data, canola data and flaxseed data, with the March intentions data overstating spring wheat and flax acres in each of the past five years, while seeded acre estimates based on March surveys understated canola acres in each of the past five years.

In 2018 data, as well as on average, acreage estimates for durum, canola and barley acres were understated, with the five-year average increase in canola acres of 5.9% being the largest change. The opposite can be said for spring wheat, corn, oats, peas and lentils, with both 2018 and five-year average change pointing to seeded acre estimates overstated in the early report. On a percentage basis, the change in flax acres was the largest, averaging 8.8% over the past five years.

Current estimates floated suggest wheat areas could be increased 7 to 10% in the spring of 2019, while canola acres could be reduced 5 to 15%. Statistics Canada will release their March estimates on April 24.


DTN 360 Poll

This week's poll asks if weather forecasts in the U.S. that could lead to a switch from some corn acres to soybeans will have any effect on your planting decisions. You can weigh in with your thoughts on this poll, located on the lower right side of the DTN Canada Hone Page.

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