The dilemma with acreage decisions for 2018

With adequate supplies of most crops, the grain and oilseed market is not giving Western Canadian farmers a strong signal to plant more of any major crop in 2018.

At the same time, India’s tariffs on pulse crops have producers looking for alternatives to peas and lentils for some acres.

From a strictly marketing standpoint, it’s not easy picking winners and losers this year.

“There are very few growers in Western Canada that really know what they want to grow,” says Lorne Boundy, merchandiser with Paterson Grain. “Returns aren’t looking rosy. There haven’t been too many good new crop selling opportunities, and with a lot of uncertainty, especially on pulses, a lot of growers are facing difficult choices.”

Oats could pencil in for peas and lentils, but those some of those pulse crop acres tend to be on the dry side for growing oats, he notes.

Canola has held its own in the oilseed market this winter, so despite rotations being stretched thin in some areas, Boundy says he expects canola acreage will be pushed even higher.

As for wheat, the protein market could heat up if concerns about dryness and winter weather are prolonged, but the world is still awash in lower protein wheat, he notes.

“A lot of growers should just try to stick to a rotation to manage long term disease and other things,” he says.

Hear Boundy’s thoughts on acreage decisions for 2018, from pulses to special crops, and what’s going to happen with the ample 2017 supplies still on-farm in the interview below, recorded at Ag Days in Brandon last week:


Kelvin Heppner

Kelvin Heppner is a field editor and radio host for RealAgriculture and RealAg Radio. He's been reporting on agriculture on the prairies and across Canada since 2008(ish). He farms with his family near Altona, Manitoba, and is on Twitter at @realag_kelvin. @realag_kelvin


Pulse School: What do India’s tariffs mean for pulse markets in 2018?

India's move to impose prohibitive import tariffs on peas, lentils and chickpeas has left a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the pulse market heading into the 2018 growing season. After back-to-back bumper crops domestically, India implemented a 50 percent tariff on pea imports in November, followed by a 30 percent tariff imposed on lentils and…Read more »


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