New-Crop Oat Acres Seen Falling Sharply; Most Other Crops Little Changed 

Agriculture Canada is projecting just modest increases in canola acres, production, and ending stocks for the upcoming 2023-24 marketing year. 

In its first outlook for the new-crop marketing year on Friday, Ag Canada pegged canola planted area for this year at 21.74 million acres, up 1.6% from 2022. Given the expectation of trend yields, production is seen rising less than 400,000 tonnes to 18.5 million, which would still fall well below the 2020 crop of 19.48 million. 

With new-crop exports forecast at 8.8 million tonnes, up 200,000 from the current year, and the crush projected to hold unchanged at 9.5 million tonnes, 2023-24 canola ending stocks are forecast at 850,000 tonnes, an increase of only 50,000 from the 2022-23 estimate. If accurate, it would be the third straight year that canola ending stocks have hovered below the 1-million tonne mark and well below the five-year average of 2.26 million. 

The 2023-24 average price for canola, No. 1, track Vancouver is forecast at $875/tonne, down from $910 for 2021-22 but above the five-year average of $739. 

In its accompanying commentary, Ag Canada said that despite admittedly attractive prices, 2023 canola planted area would be kept in check by “similarly attractive prices for alternate crops such as wheat and peas.” 

Ag Canada’s forecast also assumes normal abandonment of crop area, as well as normal weather and growing conditions. 

Meanwhile, most other crops – except for oats - are also expected to see relatively minor changes compared to a year earlier, as the area seeded to wheat (excluding durum) and oilseeds is forecast to increase, while area seeded to coarse grains and pulse and special crops sees a decrease. 

Wheat (excl durum) planted area for 2023-24 is estimated to expand 4% on the year to 20.17 million acres, with production rising 500,000 tonnes to 28.88 million. At 19.6 million tonnes, projected new-crop exports are up 500,000 tonnes from 2022-23, while total domestic use is forecast at 8.68 million tonnes, an increase of about 400,000. Ending stocks are projected at 4.9 million tonnes, up 700,000 from the 2022-23 ending stocks estimate.  

The average Saskatchewan spot price for CWRS 1, 13.5% is forecast to come down slightly, but remain relatively strong in historical terms. It is pegged at $410/tonne on average for the 2023-24 crop year, down $10 from the current year. 

As for durum, new-crop seeded area is forecast to decrease by 6% to 5.67 million tonnes. But with yields expected to improve, total production is expected to remain relatively stable at 5.4 million tonnes. Exports are projected to decline 8% to 4.4 million tonnes with reduced demand from Europe where production is projected to expand year-on-year. Domestic use is projected at average levels and carry-out stocks are seen rising 300,000 tonnes from 2022-23 to 800,000. 

The average SK CWAD No. 1, 13% spot price for 2023- 24 is forecast at $425/tonne, down from current levels, but still relatively strong in historic terms. 

The outlook for oats and barley is mixed. National barley area is forecast at 7.41 million acres, up 5% from 2022-23 and marginally higher than the previous five-year average, while oat planted area is seen tumbling 22% to just over 3 million acres. 

Ag Canada blamed the fall in expected oat acres on sharply lower oat prices, significantly increased supplies for the current oat crop, and strong competitiveness from other crops for acreage. On the other hand, it said good current prices, along with robust demand, are the major underlying drivers to support new-crop barley acreage. 

At an estimated 1 million tonnes, projected 2023-24 barley ending stocks are up 100,000 from the 2022-23 estimate, while new-crop oat ending stocks are estimated at 600,000 tonnes, down from the current year’s 1.15 million. 

The CBOT oat price in 2023-24 is projected at C$345/tonne, down $20, while the Lethbridge barley price is seen $40 lower at $360. 

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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