Canada Markets

Prairie Planting to See Late Start

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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The 2012 planting pace for both Alberta and Saskatchewan are indicated by the blue and green lines, respectively. The 2007 to 2011 average planting progress for both provinces are represented by the red and purple lines. The left hand axis represents the percent completed for all crops as of the dates below. (DTN graphic by Nick Scalise)

The Canadian Prairies were highlighted in Senior Ag Meteorologist Bryce Anderson's Before the Bell Market Weather Outlook video Friday morning, where a circled area encompassing the lion's share of the Prairies growing area was indicated as having as much as a 40-inch snow pack. This came directly after a look at the lingering signs of drought west of the Mississippi River in the U.S. What a contrast!

While we've never lost a crop in April before, the talk of delayed seeding is certainly on the minds of many across the Prairies. A tweet this morning quoted the Wheat Board as suggesting that Prairies seeding will be delayed a week. Perhaps the largest concern is the lingering lower temperatures, with pictures on the net from an unidentified source indicating the mean surface temperature to linger in freezing weather over the Prairies through April 21. This pattern of cooler weather is also affecting areas of Europe, as well as areas within the Black Sea growing regions and the northern United States.

During upcoming weeks, the industry will watch for signs of potential shifts in planting intentions. Also of importance is the rate at which the crop is seeded once operations begin. Attached is a chart of the seeding pace for Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2012, as compared to the five-year average for those provinces, showing the percent complete as of each reporting date. In time I will make comparisons to 2013 results.

Manitoba was excluded as there is less province-wide data available and no comparisons to previous years. Given the longer-season crops, such as corn and beans, which are planted in Manitoba, seeding dates tend to be earlier on average. Last year, Manitoba was 50% complete on May 14, 92% complete on May 28 and all but finished as of the June 4 report, which would exceed the pace in the two western provinces.

Cliff Jamieson can be reached at



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