Statistics Canada's next principal field crop areas report will be released on June 29, which may further add to uncertainty in key reports following last fall's final production estimates which were conducted while harvest was ongoing. In 2016, the June farm survey was conducted from May 27 to June 12, while a survey conducted in this period in 2017 will undoubtedly find some areas struggling to finish spring seeding while in some cases, seeding intentions could be changing to allow for shorter-season crops.
The attached chart may point to tendencies in acreage estimates given data reported over the past five years (2012/13-2016/17). The blue bars represent the five-year average percent change in seeded acre estimates from the principal field crop areas report based on March farm surveys and the principal field crop areas report based on June farm surveys. The red bars represent the five-year average percent change in seeded acres from the estimates released in June and the final acreage estimates based on the November Farm Surveys and released in December.
As has been noted in the past, estimates for canola, lentil and pea seeded acres tend to grow over time. For example, the five-year average percent change in acres seeded to canola grew by 3.1% from the March estimate to the June estimate, while averaging a further 2.9% increase from the June estimate to the final crop year estimate released in December. Of the three crops mentioned, canola is an exception with an increase in acres shown between March and June, then again from June to December, in each of the five years in question.
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Also seen on the attached chart, estimates seen for spring wheat, barley, corn, oats and flaxseed tend to be trimmed in the June estimates, then again in the final December estimates. Just as canola acres have increased in both the June and December reports in each of the five years from 2012 through 2016, acres of spring wheat and oats have been estimated lower in both the June report and the December report in each of the five years.
One crop that shows mixed tendencies from one report to the next is soybeans. Overall, acres tend to rise from the first report in March to the final report, although the average percent change from March to June shows an average 5.1% increase while increasing in each of the five years. Over the five years, results are mixed from the June report to the final acreage estimate, with an average .6% reduction seen over the five years.
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