The attached graphic shows the how the three-year average of the year-over-year change in Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's seeded acre estimate (2017-19) compares to Statistics Canada's official estimates, also based on the three-year average year-over-year change.
For example, AAFC's January estimates for seeded acres of wheat (excluding durum) from 2017 through 2019 produces an average of a 5.7% increase in acres, based on a forecast increase of 4.1% in 2017, an increase of 4% in 2018 and a forecast increase of 9% in 2019. The brown bar represents the actual year-over-year percent change in acres, based on official Statistics Canada estimates. In the case of wheat, this averages a 4.5% increase.
The early estimates for wheat acres from AAFC have tended to overstate the change in acres on average over the past three years. The attached graphic shows that the early, unofficial estimates released in January have also tended to overstate the increase in corn acres (blue bar higher than brown bars), canola acres, flax acres and soybeans. At the same time, the early estimates have also overstated the percent drop in estimates for seeded acres of durum, peas and lentils when compared to official Statistics Canada estimates.
Of the crops selected, durum was one of four crops where both AAFC and Statistics Canada were in agreement with the change direction over the three years in question, with both agencies forecasting a year-over-year decrease in two of the three years and a year-over-year increase in one of the three years.
Other crops where both agencies were in agreement over this period include durum, barley, corn and flax, which may support the large percentage increases that AAFC has forecast for durum and flax in 2020, shown by the grey bars.
Of the selected crops, the two agencies agreed on the direction of the year-over-year change in seeded acres for canola in only one of the three years, the only crop where this is seen and perhaps the crop which is most difficult to gauge. Over the past two years, AAFC has forecast the canola seeded acres to increase while official data shows acres falling in each of these years.
Oats are shown as one crop where each successive estimate leads to a higher percent change. Over the 2017-19 period, the initial AAFC estimate averaged a 4.8% increase, the three-year average of the official Statistics Canada data points to an average increase of 6.2% and AAFC's January estimates for 2020 point to a forecast 9% increase.
Statistics Canada's first Principal field crop areas reports, based on March surveys, will be released on April 24.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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