On both sides of the 49th parallel, far less than desirable weather conditions may force producers to delay spring fieldwork and planting; in some worst-case scenarios, this may lead to changed planting intentions and acres lost to flooding. Moving forward, the timing of the break in the current weather pattern and the amount of spring rains received will play a huge role in determining the window for spring seeding.
Already there have been rumblings in the trade that the Statistics Canada March 31 Planting Intentions report, to be released April 24, may be outdated information when compared to the actual acres that will be seeded for some crops.
The attached chart compares the actual acres seeded for all wheat in Canada (including durum) over the past 10 years to the acreage reported in the March 31 intentions report. In every year but one, 2008, actual planted acres were lower than the pre-seeding estimate. Note the attached chart compares this data as a percentage, as shown by the blue columns measured against the right-hand axis, and also by the difference in acres, as measured by the red markers, as measured against the left-hand axis in 1000 acres.
Over the 10 years in question, the actual acreage of wheat seeded was on average 5.6% below the March Intentions value, while the average difference was 1.255 million acres. The largest differences, as seen in 2010 and 2011, are easily explained by excess rain and flooding in eastern Saskatchewan and Manitoba, which resulted in either lost acres or a switch from wheat to shorter-season crops.
With some Manitoba producers reporting that they won't be in the field until the second or third week of May, there are many reasons to take this upcoming Planting Intentions report with a grain of salt.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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