Weather woes evident in StatsCan final production report


Statistics Canada’s final crop production report for 2018 is out, and  the coast to coast struggles dished out by Mother Nature are well reflected in the production figures.

A lack of moisture in the Prairies, followed by frost, snow, and rain over much of Western Canada during the fall delayed harvest quite a bit. Although most production was eventually harvested, quality was heavily affected for many crops — from unharvested potatoes in the Atlantic provinces, to high DON corn in Ontario, and green soybeans in the West.


Nationally, soybean production dropped to 7.3 million tonnes compared to 7.7 million tonnes last year. This had to do with the 13.5 per cent decline of soybeans planted. Yields, on the other hand, were up by 8.7 per cent to equal about 42.5 bushels per acre.

A big decline took place in Manitoba — a first since 2007. Only 1.9 million acres were harvested this year compared to 2.3 million last year. Yields also fell quite a bit, from 36.1 bushels per acre to 31.1 bushels per acre. Smaller harvested area and lower yields led to a 29.6 per cent drop in production, from 2.2 million tonnes to 1.6 million tonnes.

A decline also took place in Ontario with 3 million acres harvested. Despite the drop in harvested acres, there was an increase in yield — up 12.7 per cent to 51.4 bushels per acre. Overall production in the province increased by more than 400,000 to 4.2 million tonnes. Heat and lots of moisture likely accounted to higher yields than last year.

Quebec farmers reported an increase in their soybean production, rising from 1.1 million tonnes in 2017 to 1.2 million tonnes in 2018. According to StatsCanada, although harvested area declined 6.7 per cent  to 912,700 acres, yields increased from 41.9 bushels per acre to 46.9 bushels per acre.


A decline in total canola production to 20.3 million tonnes, down from 21.3 million, was due to a slight decrease in harvested acres, pegged at 22.5 million.

Average yields reported were 39.8 bushels per acre, which accounts for a 2.9 per cent dip to last years total.

StatsCanada notes the fluctuation in temperature and low moisture as reasons the crop quality was affected along with reduced yields.

Production of canola fell quite a bit in Alberta, to 5.9 million tonnes, down 900,000 tonnes from last year. Saskatchewan also reported a downfall in production of about 254,000 tonnes, resulting in 10.9 million tonnes produced. Manitoba on the other hand had an increase in production with a jump of 5.4 per cent to 3.3 million tonnes this year.


Overall, producers reported 31.8 million tonnes of wheat for the year. That’s up six per cent from last year and the increase is due to larger harvested area. Acres were up  2.2 million acres over 2017-2018. Yields were lower — down 1.8 bushels per acre on average, to 47.8 bushels per acre.

One of the larger harvested areas includes Saskatchewan at 12.8 million acres, which was up 14 per cent from last year. Overall, farmers produced 14.4 million tonnes of wheat this year, up 11.7 per cent year-over-year.

Further west, Alberta’s wheat production only increased a little and settled at 10 million tonnes. There was however a 5.5 per cent decrease in yields reported, pegged at 49.7 bushels per acre.

Back east to Manitoba, production was up a smidge from last year, to 4.7 million tonnes of wheat. The increase was largely driven by a larger harvested area, which rose from 2.7 million acres to 2.9 million acres. Just like Saskatchewan the rise in harvested area was offset by decreases in yield, which edged down from and average of 59.8 bushels per acre to 59.5 bushels per acre.

Lastly, in Ontario, all wheat production decreased 4.3 per cent to 2.2 million tonnes in 2018. Yields were down 2.5 bushels per acre from 2017 to 81.2 bushels per acre. Also, the harvested area fell 1.4 per cent to 995,500 acres. More than half of Canada’s winter wheat is produced in Ontario.


The high temperatures in Ontario — which accounts for the largest acres of grain corn  — were a bonus to farmers throughout the summer months; however, the below average rainfall during the early part of the growing season may have had an effect on overall yields.

Across Canada, there was a slight decrease in production from 14.1 million tonnes in 2017, to 13.9 million tonnes of corn for grain in 2018. An increase of 1.7 per cent in overall harvested acres also took place this year.

Ontario’s corn for grain crop had a rise in harvested acres, as 8.8 million tonnes was grown. Despite a drop to 166 bushels per acre this year, yields remained above the 10-year average. In Quebec, production fell 4.2 per cent to 3.6 million tonnes.

Barley, Oats

There was a big increase in production of barley this year for Canadian farmers. 8.4 million tonnes was produced, up from 7.9 million. Yields fell slightly per acre, but there was a 13.3 per cent boost to overall harvested area at 5.9 million acres.

In regards to oats, production area decreased slightly to 3.4 million acres. The low in oats was mainly driven by a 3.7 per cent slump in yield to 89.7 bushels per acre. Farmers also planted about 116,000 fewer acres this year.

(Statistics Canada. Table 32-10-0359-01 Estimated areas, yield, production, average farm price and total farm value of principal field crops, in metric and imperial units)

Roughly 26,800 Canadian farms were surveyed for this report. The review took place between October 5 to November 13, 2018. The results provide the final production estimates for 2018, which are subject to revision for two years. You can find the full report by clicking here.

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