StatCan report underlines shift to even more big-acre crops in 2023

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Farmers across Canada may have planted slightly more canola and wheat than expected, if Statistics Canada’s acreage estimates prove to be accurate.

The agency released its June field crop survey results on Wednesday (June 28), and it underlined a shift away from pulses and smaller acreage crops toward growing more canola, wheat, soybeans, and corn.

Oilseeds

Canola acreage for 2023 was estimated at 22.1 million acres, up from 21.4 million last year, and around three hundred thousand acres higher than the average pre-report estimate. The increase in canola area was led by farmers in Saskatchewan, as canola acreage in Alberta and Manitoba declined year-over-year.

As for soybeans, acres in Ontario declined by 5.4 per cent from last year, but soybean area nationally rose 6.8 per cent to 5.6 million acres. Manitoba farmers increased their soybean acreage by 41 per cent, to 1.6 million acres, following record yields in 2022, said StatCan.

Flax acreage was estimated at 609 thousand, down 21.8 per cent from 2022.

Grains

National all-wheat area was pegged at 26.9 million acres, versus 25.2 million in 2022, and market expectations of around 26.5 million. This would be the largest wheat crop area since 2001. Spring wheat was projected at 19.5 million acres for 2023, up from 18 million the previous year.

Corn acreage across the country rose 5.5 per cent to 3.8 million acres, led by a 46 per cent increase in Manitoba. Ontario, where nearly two-thirds of Canadian grain corn is produced, saw a slight decrease to 2.3 million acres, according to StatCan.

As expected, oat acres plummeted relative to last year, and were estimated to be down 36 per cent to 2.5 million acres, the lowest oat area on record.

Barley acres in 2023 are up 3.9 per cent to 7.3 million, said StatCan.

Pulses

Pulse crop acres have dropped off, with lentils pegged at 3.7 million, down 15.1 per cent from 2022 and the lowest total since 2014.

Pea acreage was estimated at 3 million acres, down 9.7 per cent from 2022.

Summer fallow area was pegged at just over 1.2 million acres, down 37.8 per cent from last year.

The June StatCan report was based on a survey of approximately 25 thousand farms conducted from May 15 to June 12, 2023.

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