As noted in previous work on this subject, there may be certain tendencies for Statistics Canada to over or underestimate seeded acres for certain crops reported in the March estimates. These estimates are based on producer surveys conducted in the last half of March, while released in late April. This survey covers expected acreage in Quebec, Ontario and the Prairies, while production in the Maritimes and British Columbia are excluded and to be included in June estimates, which is reported to account for 2 to 4% of national totals.
Two trends of interest involve Canada's two largest crops, spring wheat and canola. In each of the past five years from 2011 to 2015, spring wheat acres have been overestimated, with final acres lower than the March estimates in each of the past five years. In 2015, final acres were 5.5% below the March estimate, while actual acres averaged 3.5% lower in the past three years and 4.9% lower on average over the past five years.
In the case of canola, the final seeded acres reported by Statistics Canada were higher than the March estimates in all but one year, although the trend seems to be to underestimated seeded acres in the spring. In 2015, actual acres were reported to be 3.5% higher, while final acres have averaged 4.8% higher than spring estimates over the past three years and 4.2% higher on average over the past five years.
Durum is a crop that poses a challenge for Statistics Canada. Actual seeded acres were 5.8% above the March estimate in 2015, while the three-year trend indicates final acres to average .4% above March estimates while over the five-year period, final acres have averaged 5.5% below spring estimates.
As seen on the attached chart, of the selected crops, the wildest swings from estimated acres in the spring to final planted acres is seen in lentils. Final seeded acres have been higher than spring estimates in all but one year of the past five years. In 2015, final planted acres were 17.9% higher than the spring estimates. Over the past three years, final acres averaged 19.6% higher than spring estimates while on average over the past five years, actual acres averaged 11.2% higher than the spring estimates.
This year's Principal field crops report will be released by Statistics Canada on April 21 at 7:30 CT.
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