Major crop production estimates down due to challenging weather: Statistics Canada

Weather continues to be the main cause of concern for farmers across Canada. Statistics Canada’s Production of Principal Field Crops report is out for the month of July, and due to either wet and cold weather in the east, or hot and dry weather in the west, three of Canada’s major crops are down compared to last year.

Though the year started with an overabundance of moisture in areas of Canada, and drought in others, maps from Agriculture and Agri-food Canada show that from April 1 to June 17, moisture levels improved overall.

Wheat

On a national level wheat is projected to fall 2.9 per cent from 2018, to 31.3 million tonnes in 2019, driven by a 1.1 per cent decline in harvested area. According to Statistics Canada, yields are expected to decline 2.1 per cent, to 47.5 bushels per acre.

The decrease comes as a result of lower winter wheat and durum wheat production, due to fewer planted and harvest acres this year. However, spring wheat acres and production are expected to go up.

Canola

It’s anticipated farmers will produce 18.5 million tonnes of canola this year. That’s down 9.3 per cent from last year, a change mainly attributed to the fall in harvested area, to 20.7 million acres. The decrease in areas is due to a decline in seeded acres, which some attribute to the ongoing trade spat with China and Canada, and the limited access to Chinese export markets.

Related: Viterra becomes second business to face canola export ban to China

On the bright side, moisture near the end of June helped the crop develop and producers are reporting an expected average yield of 39.4 bushels per acre — down only one per cent from the 2018 crop yer.

Soybeans

Soybean yields are expected to fall 5.4 per cent to 40.2 bushels per acre. Harvest area is also down to 5.7 million acres, a decline of 9.7 per cent. That also means a production decline of 14.6 per cent to about 6.2 million tonnes.

Corn

The corn crop will also decline this year, according to Statistics Canada, as farmers are expected to produce less corn for grain in 2019 – down 2 per cent to 13.6 million tonnes. Although harvested acres were up by 3.6 million, yields are expected to fall 4.1 per cent, to about 148.2 bushels per acre. Both decreases are attributed to the cold, wet weather throughout Canada, which delayed planting. To note, Statistics Canada also says Ontario and Quebec received considerable heat combined with little rain throughout July, and this may have further affected the corn for grain crop.

Oats, barley

On the upside, oats are expected to increase by 15 per cent to 4 million tonnes. This is a result of greater harvest area, up by 15.2 per cent or about 2.9 million acres. Yields will remain stable at 89.6 bushels per acre.

Barley production, meanwhile, will be up by 15.1  per cent compared to last year. Total production for this year is expected to hit 9.6 million tonnes with yields to increase by 2.2 per cent to 66.4 bushels per acre.

(Statistics Canada. Table 32-10-0359-01)

Roughly 13,110 Canadian farms were surveyed for this report. The review took place between July 4 to August 5, 2019. Farmers were asked to report their estimated area, yield and production of grains, oilseeds and special crops. You can find the full report by clicking here.

Final production estimates for 2019 will be released on December 6, 2019, and are subject to revision for two years.

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