Canada Markets

Provincial Yield Estimates Support a Larger Prairie Crop

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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Last week's crop reports from Saskatchewan and Alberta show improving crop yields when compared to earlier provincial estimates. This chart shows the change in prairie production from official Statistics Canada projections when combining Saskatchewan and Alberta yield estimates along with Statistics Canada's harvested acreage estimates. Given this scenario, canola production could be close to one million metric tons higher than current official estimates. (DTN graphic by Nick Scalise)

Provincial yield estimates released by both Alberta Agriculture and Saskatchewan Agriculture continue to show improving crop yield estimates in the western Prairies as the harvest advances. Estimates were released in Saskatchewan as of October 5 with 84% of the crop harvested while Alberta Agriculture released updated data as of Oct. 6 with 72% of the crop in the bin.

While provincial yield estimates in Saskatchewan for the selected crops have improved between September 7 and Oct. 5, Alberta estimates have improved from Sept. 8 to Sept. 22 and then again as of Oct. 6 data.

The attached chart shows the difference in production estimates utilizing Statistics Canada harvested acre projections while updating yields with Alberta and Saskatchewan provincial estimates and leaving Manitoba yields static.

Given this scenario, the largest swing in production would be seen in canola, with a boost of 949,152 metric tons. This is due to a Saskatchewan provincial estimate of 34 bushels per acre, which is 3 bpa higher than Statistics Canada's official estimate, while Alberta's provincial estimate is 1.8 bpa higher than the 32 bpa estimate seen in Statistics Canada's official estimates. This scenario would suggest production exceeding 15 million metric tons as compared to the 14.3 mmt estimate released by Statistics Canada on October 2.

Also indicated on the attached chart of selected grains is spring wheat, with Saskatchewan and Alberta yield estimates suggesting spring wheat production estimates released by Statistics Canada could be overstated by close to 400,000 metric tons.

Saskatchewan government data suggests that average wheat yields could be slightly higher than the 37.1 bpa reported by Statistics Canada, given the 37 bpa average reported by Saskatchewan Agriculture for hard red spring wheat and the 41 bpa average reported for other wheat. This was calculated using the 2014 split in acreage between hard red spring and other spring varieties such as Canada Prairie Spring and Soft White Spring. The spring wheat crop in Alberta, on the other hand, is estimated to average 39.7 bpa by Alberta Agriculture in its recent report, higher than previous Alberta reports but 3.3 bpa below the 43 bpa yield estimate reported by Statistics Canada.

As indicated on the chart, oat production, dry pea production and durum production could be revised higher, given Alberta and Saskatchewan provincial yield estimates exceeding Statistics Canada estimates. Adjusting for provincial barley yield estimates in Saskatchewan and Alberta would see production remain steady with current Statistics Canada estimates, with the chance of a better than expected yield in Saskatchewan off-set with a poorer-than-expected crop harvested in Alberta.

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