Ahead of the Production of principal field crops, July 2017 report to be released by Statistics Canada, we look at the historical change in estimates from the initial July report (released in August) to the final production estimate, including revisions. In 2016, the July Farm Survey was conducted between July 21 and Aug. 4.
We see on the attached chart of the crops selected, final production estimates are larger for all crops shown, both in 2016 (red bars) as well as seen for all crops in the 2012 to 2016 five-year average.
There is perhaps a number of reasons why final estimates are larger. Paying only a small role, the Farm Survey is based on data obtained from the top five producing provinces, which includes Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, which is estimated to represent 96% to 98% of total production, while the final estimates includes all production. The timing of the data collection relative to harvest can also play a role, as may conservative responses from producers or a conservative approach by statisticians.
Over the five years looked at, there was only four instances across the selected crops where final production was estimated lower than the July estimates: canola in 2012, barley in 2012 and 2014 and oats in 2012. Over the five years, the average increase in production across the crops reported was as low as 3.9% from the July report to the November report, while as high as 23.4% in 2013.
2017 estimates will be closely watched, given that overall crop conditions in both Saskatchewan and Alberta deteriorated over the survey period and continued to deteriorate into August.
Statistics Canada's report is due on Aug. 31.
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Cliff Jamieson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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