Big Rebounds in Store for Spring Wheat, Canola Output

This year’s Canadian spring wheat harvest could be the largest in nine years, while canola output may match the fourth highest ever, the results of a recent crop tour show. 

Argus Media and Winnipeg-based LeftField Commodity Research partnered on the two-pronged tour, which covered a combined more than 4,000 km of Prairie farmland over a five-day period earlier this month. Based on a mix of random field sampling and input from producers along the way, the results of the tour were discussed in an Argus-sponsored webinar Thursday. 

Maxence Devillers, a grain analyst with Argus Media, pegged this year’s average spring wheat at 53.2 bu/acre, up almost 17 bu or 46% from last year’s drought-ravaged result. Using Statistics Canada’s latest planted area estimates, that translates to a crop of just over 26 million tonnes - an increase of approximately 10 million tonnes from a year earlier and potentially the largest spring wheat crop since producers reaped 27.2 million tonnes in 2013.  

Meanwhile, Jon Driedger of Leftfield projected the average 2022 canola yield at 41 bu/acre, and total production at 19.6 million.  

If accurate, the average canola yield would easily top last year’s dismal 25 bu/acre result but still fall short of the 2020 average of 41.8 bu/acre. The estimated production level compares to 12.6 million in 2021 and would tie that of 2016 and only be exceeded by the crops of 2017, 2018, and 2019. 

Devillers said the wheat fields with the best yield potential were in central Alberta, while crops with below average potential were found in eastern Alberta and southwestern Saskatchewan where chronic dryness has continued to be a problem following the 2021 drought. Yield potential in most other Prairie areas was found to be just slightly above average. 

Some risk to the spring wheat crop remains, Devillers warned, including the potential for an early frost in those areas where development is lagging due to late planting. 

Lateness and frost risk was a theme Driedger noted for canola as well, adding that many crops in the heaviest production areas are in a race against time. 

“It is one of the challenges when we think about what the canola crop in Western Canada could be,” he said. 

As part of his presentation, Driedger as well pointed out Canadian canola yields have basically plateaued at a time when Prairie crush capacity is rising. 

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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