Canada Markets

A Look at Alberta Agriculture's Yield Estimates vs. Statistics Canada

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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The blue bars represent the most recent dryland yield estimates for selected Alberta crops as released by the provincial government. The brown bars represent Statistics Canada's estimates for Alberta. The black line with markers represents the five-year average difference between the province's last yield estimate of the season and Statistics Canada's final estimates. (DTN graphic by Cliff Jamieson)

Today we compare Agriculture Alberta's yield estimates as of Aug. 27, based on dryland crops (blue bars), with Statistics Canada's estimates for the province, as shown by the brown bars.

Of the five crops shown, all crops except canola are estimated to yield higher by Statistics Canada. The largest difference is seen for the durum crop, with Statistics Canada estimating Alberta's durum yield at 31.9 bushels per acre, 4.4 bpa higher than estimated by the province.

The Alberta government benefits from a timing perspective, with estimates released on a weekly basis, while Statistics Canada estimates were based on surveys conducted between early July to early August. At the same time, while the province estimates dryland yields only, Statistics Canada surveys will include all crops.

The only crop that is estimated to yield lower by Statistics Canada is canola, which is estimated at 40.1 bpa as compared to the 40.8 bpa yield estimated by the province's estimates.

The black line with markers plots the five-year average change in yield from the province's final weekly yield estimate to the official estimates released by Statistics Canada, including any revisions made. Over the past five years, spring wheat yields have been consistently estimated higher by Statistics Canada, with an average of 6 bpa reported over and above the province's estimates. Barley follows, also showing an average 6 bpa increase over the province's estimates, although official yield estimates released by Statistics Canada were higher than the province's final estimate in only four of the five years.

On average, final official yield estimates averaged close to 2 bpa higher for the canola crop and 1.4 bpa for durum. Statistics Canada's final dry pea yield estimates were reported higher than the province's estimates in only two of the five years (2014-18), while the five-year average yield reported by Statistics Canada in its final estimates is 0.5 bpa lower than the provincial estimate.

Given Statistics Canada's harvested acre estimates for 2019, the 6 bpa increase in spring wheat would add an additional 1 million metric tons to the balance sheet, while the 6 bpa increase in barley yield would add 408,000 metric tons. Given the 0.5 bpa reduction in dry peas seen on average over the past five years, this would lower provincial production by approximately 26,000 mt.

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