Canada Markets

Higher-Than-Expected Barley Yields Seen for the Prairies

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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Saskatchewan Agriculture cash data shows feed barley bids up slightly over the past week, after stabilizing over the past four weeks. (DTN chart by Cliff Jamieson)

On Wednesday, Manitoba Agriculture's 2023 Provincial Summary estimates yields averaging from 70 to 80 bushels per acre (bpa), "with some exceptions." The mid-point of this range is 75 bpa, which compares to Statistics Canada's official yield estimate for the province of 63.9 bpa. Based on Statistics Canada's harvested acre estimate of 379,800 mt, this would result in production of 91,787 metric tons (mt) over and above Statistics Canada's official estimate.

Saskatchewan Agriculture's final Crop Report resulted in a yield estimate of 55.6 bpa, or 10.5 bpa higher than the official estimate released by Statistics Canada. Based on the official harvested acre estimate of 2.589 million metric tons (mmt), production would reach a volume of 591,868 mt over and above the official estimate.

Alberta's final estimates resulted in a dryland barley estimate of 61.4 bpa, just 0.4 bpa higher than the official estimate released by Statistics Canada. Irrigated acres could result in an even greater spread between the two estimates, while the current provincial estimate would result in increased production of 29,222 mt based on the estimated harvested acres of 3.3554 mmt.

In total, Statistics Canada's September production estimate, based on August model data, results in a production estimate that is 712,873 mt below the estimates released by the provinces. This difference would lead to crop year production of 8.5 mmt, roughly 1.5 mmt lower than 2022.

As seen on the attached chart, increased interest in barley has led to stabilized prices, with Saskatchewan Agriculture reporting the feed barley producer price reaching a low of $261.12/mt in September, drifting sideways at $264.87/mt for the following four weeks and showing a slight uptick to $266.30/mt in the week ending Oct. 25.

This comes at a time when Canadian dollar weakness is making corn imports increasingly expensive, exports of Canadian barley are well-behind the volume reported this time last year according to the Canadian Grain Commission week 12 data and U.S. export sales statistics shows activity with Canada stabilizing. As of Oct. 19, the USDA reports outstanding sales of corn to Canada totaling 735,700 mt and accumulated exports of 48,700 mt. The combined total, or total commitments, is 784,400 mt or 10 times the 78,400 mt reported for this week last year. This volume is up only slightly from the 747,200 mt reported by the USDA for the first week of the row crop crop year, or the week of Sept. 7. For two consecutive weeks, the USDA's Export Sales report highlights included small corn sales cancellations to Canada. We are a long way away from the 3 mmt of corn imports that Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has forecast for the 2023-24 crop year, a sign that more barley is being pulled into the ration.

Cliff Jamieson can be reached at

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