Statistics Canada pegs the 2021 crop down significantly based on its satellite imagery modelling.
StatsCan puts national wheat production down 34.8 per cent, canola down 24.3 per cent to 14.7 million tonnes, and soybeans down 8.4 per cent year over year to 5.8 million tonne.
Grain corn is the one bright spot, with an increase in Ontario production leading to a slight uptick to 13.7 million tonnes (+0.8%). Most of the increase is due to yield, as harvested area fell nationally.
Wheat production in Ontario is projected to rise 8.9 per cent to 2.7 million tonnes year over year, on increased harvested acres (+2.3%) and yields (+6.4%).
Ahead of the report, analysts suggested the StatsCan canola number could land anywhere between 11 million and 16 million tonnes. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada pegged its canola production estimate down to 15 MT last week.
Prairie canola yields are expected to drop 30.1 per cent to 29.2 bushels per acre, offsetting higher harvested area of 22.2 million acres.
Ontario’s harvested area of soybeans is up, at 2.9 million acres, while yield is anticipated to decrease 4.7 per cent to 48.3 bushels per acre. In Manitoba, soybean production is projected to decrease 30.8 per cent to well under a million tonnes in 2021, while harvested area is expected to increase 13.5 per cent to 1.3 million acres
StatsCan says that the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) curves, which are a measure of plant health, indicated that in almost all parts of the Prairies, crops reached peak health well ahead of normal. In some instances, peak NDVI occurred up to four weeks earlier, before decreasing rapidly as a lack of moisture and high temperatures took a toll on plant health.
StatsCan states that the satellite technology model for preliminary crop yields and production has been used since 2016. “These methods have successfully been used to produce September yield estimates since 2016, and they replaced July yield estimates beginning in 2020. While dry conditions may lead to an increase in abandoned acres, coarse resolution-based modelling relies on historical averages for harvested area,” the Daily report reads.
Final harvested area estimates will be published on December 3, 2021, based on the November 2021 Field Crop Survey.