Ahead of the 2017 planting season and the potential market moves needed to buy acres of various crops, here is a look back at how seeded acres on the Prairies in 2016 compare to the previous 2006 through 2015 average for each province.
Looking first at Alberta (blue bars), the cereal grains have fared the poorest of the selected grains, with 2016 seeded acres of barley at 83.4% of the 10-year average, oats at 85.7% and spring wheat at 91.5% of average. Modest increased were seen in canola acres, at 104.2% of average and flax at 105.2% of average. The largest shifts in acreage was seen in durum, at 176.2% of average and dry peas at 201.2% of average. While 10-year data is not available for lentils acres in Alberta, the 575,000 acres seeded to lentils in the province were 483% of the previous seven-year average.
Saskatchewan data shows 2016 flax acres at 71.8% of average while oat acres were 78.7% of average, spring wheat at 84.5%, barley at 85.7% and peas at 86.1%. The 2016 winners in the fight for acres relative to average areas was canola at 120.8% of average, durum at 122.5% of average and lentils at 215.3% of average. While Statistics Canada does not show 10-year data for soybeans, the 240,000 acres of soybeans seeded in 2016 was a modest 1.4% higher than the previous three-year average.
The province of Manitoba has seen some of the larger swings in acres on the Prairies. Flax acres in 2016 were 43.7% of the province's 10-year acres, oat acres were 59.2% of average and barley acres were 61.6% of average. Canola acres (101.8%) and spring wheat acres (105.3%)remained close to their respective 10-year averages, with 2016 acres as a percent of average shown in brackets. The largest winners in terms of the shift, on a percentage basis, was seen in corn at 150.6% of average, peas at 222.6% of average and soybeans at 238.3% of average.
One trend that may be nearing an end is the growth in seeded acres given the decline in summerfallow acres. The 1.990 million acres of summerfallow estimated on the Prairies in 2016 is the lowest estimated area seen in records going back to 1913 and has fallen in seven of the past 10 years. Manitoba's 110,000 acres of summerfallow is just 18.7% of the 10-year average, while Saskatchewan's 1.350 million acres is 30% of the 10-year average and Alberta's 500,000 acres is 36% of the 10-year average. Should this trend continue, swings in acres from crop to crop could be more pronounced and timely market signals will become increasingly important.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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