StatsCan Releases A Bogus Canola Acre Forecast

By Shaun Haney

This morning StatsCan released its acreage report as of June 3rd and there is one shocking number that seems incredibly difficult to accept. By predicting 19.7 million acres of canola it would seem that the way that StatsCan collects data is not timely nor is it relevant. After being at the Farm Progress Show last week in Regina it is very clear that the number being floated in the early part of 2011 of 18 – 18.5 million acres will be much more accurate.  I have talked to five different industry people this morning and everyone is saying the same thing, “There is no way that there is 19.7 million acres of canola.”

Before the StatsCan numbers were released, FarmLink Marketing released its acre forecasts and they seem much more relevant and possible. FarmLink is predicting 18.3 million acres which is much more believable.  I talked to several farmers at the show (talking to farmers) that seeded less than half of their intended acres.  Many of them commented to me that what was seeded was in very poor condition and only half of it would be viable.  Thank goodness there is some private analysts to supplement the reports that are coming from government institutions like StatsCan.



Shaun Haney

Shaun Haney is the founder of He creates content regularly and hosts RealAg Radio on Rural Radio 147 every weekday at 4:30 PM est. @shaunhaney


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Vicki Dutton

It is time to review how we collect data as this affects our markets greatly. We on the pulse side say no way there is 2.8 million acres of lentils either. It is time to draw the line in the sand and demand better. And while we are at it lets revamp environment Canada weather forecasting or at the very least recommend they contract Drew Lerner to give the other point of view!

Mike Leslie

So the farmers are the ones providing the raw data, if the anti-CWB guys mislead the CWB interviewers and the anti-govt anti tax guys mislead the Stats Can guys and the anti-multinationals mislead Viterra, who is to blame for the fact none of these estimates line up.

If people feed the interviewers junk, then you should expect the estimates to be the same.

Shaun Haney

I agree Mike but maybe the interview process is flawed in the sense it doesn’t recognize shifting conditions. Having said that I have never understood why a farmer would provide statscan or the USDA with false intentions. I know several people that do it and it makes no sense. It all comes down to people that get wrapped up in conspiracy theories.


Hi Shaun,

In response to why you don’t understand that some farmers provide accurate information: My thought is because many feel it is none of Stats Can’s business to know details (especially carryover inventories) of their own private business. And if you refuse to answer their question, Stats Can just keeps calling and calling to the point where some give out false information just to get them to quit phoning. What I would like to know is whether Stats Can seeks out similar detailed information in other sectors of the economy. If so, to what extent are the questions and information they are looking for.

Ward Toma

Intentions are not actual planted. They are different and Shaun should know that.

Shaun Haney

I know that ward but the question is , what good is a report that everyone knows is not correct. To me it provides no value. Who cares what the intentions were on june 3rd. What value did that report provide farmers at the end of june.


A govenment agency that doesn’t know what’s going on in the real world. Imagine that! Good job Shawn, pointing out Stats Can needs to review their information better.

ward toma

Shaun, your statement that no one cares about it is incorrect. This survey is a reasonable estimation of planting intentions and is not one of acres planted, and it is not necessarily wrong. You also state it has no value when delivered on June 3. While that may be correct, the assumption that only farmers or traders/buyers/sellers use this information and that it has no value is incorrect.

Information about the change from intentions to actual planted to actual harvested is important to risk managers and policy makers amoungnst others. Sometimes the change from intented to actual planted acres is not as apparent as flooding, drought, insect, disease, frost etc. So this data helps in finding out why decisions to change were made in the long run. It may not seem to provide immediate direct value to farmers or other market participants (I agree it could be more timely) but it is valuable and not bogus at all.


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