Ahead of Statistics Canada's Principal field crop areas, March 2018 report to be released on April 27, we look at the change in acres from the March intentions report to the final estimated acres released in December (including later revisions).
In 2017, the March Farm Survey used surveys of 11,600 producers to estimate planting intentions and was held between March 16 to March 31. Data was collected from producers in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, representing 96 to 98% of the total acres planted. Seeded acres for provinces not included in the survey are based on historic data.
As noted on the attached chart, some tendencies do seem to occur in data presented over time. Seeded acres for durum, canola, soybeans and lentils tend to be understated in the March intentions report relative to the final seeded acre estimate released in December. Perhaps the most consistent of these crops is seen in soybean data, with final 2017 acres 4.7% higher than estimated in March while the five-year average points to final acres that are 5.6% higher than the spring estimate. Over the five-year period, the largest swing in acres from the spring estimate to the final estimate is seen in the average for lentil acres at 14%, which ranges from .5% in 2017 to 31.8% in 2013.
Crops where acres seem to be overstated in the spring include spring wheat, barley, corn, oats and flax. Perhaps the most consistent data can be seen for barley, with 2017 final acres down 1.9%, as reported in December, while on average over the five years (2013-to-2017), final acres came in 1.3% lower.
Over the five years in question, the crops where seeded acres were consistently understated in each of the five years were canola, soybeans and lentils, while only two crops were consistently overstated in each of the five years, which were spring wheat and flax.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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