Canada Markets

Focus to Shift from Planted Acres to Production Potential

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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The blue bars represent the percentage of the Alberta canola crop seeded as of late May, defined as May 17 to 26 in Alberta Agriculture tables, as measured against the percent scale on the secondary vertical axis. The black line with markers represents the provincial average Statistics Canada yield, measured against the primary vertical axis. (DTN graphic by Nick Scalise)

While pre-report estimates continue to suggest canola acres will be reported close to record territory in Thursday's Statistics Canada Principal Field Crop Report, the reported acreage may be quickly cast aside with focus on the yield potential across the Prairies, given challenges faced.

There are reports across the Prairies of varying stages of growth within a region and even across a single farm. Monday's Manitoba Crop Report indicated reseeded canola acres last week in a region which is also seeing early flowering in some crops. Across the Prairies, producers are facing near-freezing overnight temperatures, excessive moisture, and patchy emergence due to dry weather and flea beetles.

Will the boost in planted acres in 2017 result in higher production overall? While it's just one factor which may influence crop yield, the attached chart looks at planting dates in Alberta and the resulting average provincial yield. It is interesting to note that of the years reported, average provincial yields were reported higher in 2015 and 2016, where 94.5% of the crop had been seeded by the May 17-26 period in 2015 to result in a 41.7 bushel per acre yield. In 2016, 86.5% of the crop had been seeded by the same period, resulting in an even higher average provincial yield of 46.4 bpa. The 2015 average yield was 2.9 bpa higher than the previous five-year average, while the 2016 average yield was 6.9 bpa higher than the previous five-year average.

In 2017, it is estimated that 49.1% of the province's canola crop was planted at the discussed period, which closely mirrors the progress made in 2012 and 2014 (blue bars). The average yield in 2012 was 34.3 bpa, 1.1 bpa below the previous five-year average, while it was 38 bpa in 2014, or just .3 bpa higher than the previous five-year average.

It would take a 12% decline in overall average yields in Canada, from 42.3 bpa to 37.3 bpa, to result in 2017 production levels equaling that achieved in 2016, given the current 22.2 million acres planted and the five-year average for harvested acres.

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Cliff Jamieson can be reached at cliff.jamieson@dtn.com

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