How much will western soybean acres decline in 2019?

It has been quite the ride for soybeans over the past five years in Western Canada. From the promise of a can’t lose proposition, to the struggles of the past two years due to environmental conditions, soybeans are still working at finding a stable base of acres in the west.

Due to the dry conditions of 2018 in a good part of Western Canada, soybean yields were less than ideal or close to break-even. Back in the fall, pessimism was high for soybeans, and acres the prevailing thought was that we’d see significantly lower acres in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Since then, Saskatchewan acres have remained bearish while Manitoba acres are predicted to be flat to only slightly lower in 2019.

When asked, I have joked that Saskatchewan acres will get as close to zero as possible. It’s not quite that bad, based on the informal feedback I get, but a drastic reduction in acres is expected by many analysts and ag retailers.

At Manitoba Ag Days at Brandon this week, Nutrien Ag Solutions agronomy service manager, Gary Topham stated on RealAg Radio that up until this point the company’s soybean bookings were down compared to a year ago.

Tom Greaves, a seed grower with Pitura Seeds outside of Winnipeg, agrees, and says that he expects acres to be lower than 2018 based on current customer bookings.

It’s clear that this is by no means the top for soybean acres in the long term, but Mother Nature has to cooperate with some moisture for farmers to jump back on the soybean bandwagon.

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