Ugly Experience in '16 Muddying Acreage Forecasts for '17 — FarmTech Market Panel

Bad experiences with high disease levels in last year’s crop are making acreage projections for Western Canada in 2017 a tad more complicated than normal.

“This year has been a lot more guess work. We have things we’re just not sure about because the price signals on durum are actually looking pretty favourable, the price signals on lentils are looking favourable, but we have this ugliness, this disease stuff,  the bad experiences that are the extra layer on top that we normally don’t have to factor into the decisions,” explains Chuck Penner of LeftField Commodity Research in the video below.

Penner and FarmLead’s Brennan Turner joined us for a market panel discussion at FarmTech in Edmonton, mainly discussing acreage expectations and market scenarios heading into planting.

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Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada published its first acreage estimates last week, forecasting 21 million acres of canola and around 18 million acres of non-durum wheat (see chart).

“More canola, definitely more oats, peas will be a question mark, definitely less lentils and durum — that’s what we continue to hear around the farm shows,” says Turner, noting he expects more diversity and a shift outside of the CWRS class in wheat acres.

Penner says he sees the canola number possibly ending up closer to 22 million. On pulses, while lentils acres will drop from last year’s sky-high number, he says yellow pea acres could rise.

Excess moisture will still be an issue in many areas heading into spring (supporting higher canola acres), but Penner suggests not letting last year’s production problems impact new crop marketing decisions.

“Last year, frankly, is irrelevant in terms of what your decisions are. What I’m afraid is there are some decent new crop bids out there right now and farmers who had a bad experience production-wise last year are going to look at that and say ‘I really don’t want to contract again,'” he says. “This year’s experience is guaranteed to be different.”

Watch more from FarmTech ’17 here.

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