Projecting seeded acres for 2013 may prove challenging with issues such as the continuing signs of drought in the Western Corn Belt, a troubled winter wheat crop in the United States and also the less-than-desirable start to spring on the Canadian Prairies.
The attached chart indicates the trend for the seeded acreage of major crops over the past 20 years, utilizing Statistics Canada data along with current projections for 2013 as provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. For the sake of this analysis, 2013 summerfallow acres were left constant with the 2012 level of 4.485 million acres.
One of the most noticeable trends is the decline in wheat acres (excluding durum) over the 1993 to 2012 period, from 28.47 ma to 19.12 ma. Wheat acres are forecast to increase in 2013 by 7%, according to AAFC's projections. This would represent the second year of growth in the country's wheat acres.
DTN's own informal poll of readers (DTN 360 Poll) suggested that 42% of respondents planned to increase acres of non-durum wheat acres, while 35% planned to decrease acres; 18% of respondents viewed acres as being unchanged, while 5% were undecided. Again, I stress this is an informal poll, involving a sample size that is limited in making concise forecasts. Please watch for this week's DTN 360 poll on the home page, which is focused on planting intentions for canola.
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Also of interest is the trend higher for canola acres over the past 20 years. Acres have trended higher each year since 2006, but are forecast to see a 1.3% dip, according to AAFC. Others suggest this drop could be as high as 7 to 10%. At 21.3 million acres forecast in 2013, canola acres are a solid 54.7% above the average acreage over the past 20 years. Given the current AAFC forecast, canola acres would be approximately 740,000 acres higher than non-wheat acres.
Barley acres have been in a downtrend since 2002, as seen by the purple line on the chart, although are expected to make a minor 5.1% recovery over last year's 7.4 ma to 7.78 ma. Challenges in competing in international malt barley markets may see a switch to more feed varieties, while a later spring and seeding period may see more interest in barley acres over time, which would be a welcome sight for the livestock sector.
The red line represents oats, which have been steadily losing favor over time, as seen by the green line on the chart. The current forecast for 2013 seeded acres is 2.59 million acres, which represents a 9% reduction from 2012 and a reduction of 41.6% from the average over the past 20 years.
Durum acres are forecast to be less than 1% higher in 2013, at 4.72 ma, as seen by the green line. This level is 9% below the average acreage over the past 20 years.
Summerfallow acres have been in a long-term decline, although spiked higher in 2010 and 2011 due to water-logged soils not seeded on the prairies.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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