Canada’s canola acreage seen down in 2013, production up

The amount of canola to be seeded in Canada in the spring of 2013 is expected to be down from the level seen in 2012, but assumed average yields and weather conditions are expected to translate into production easily surpassing the level achieved this season.

Seeded area in the spring of 2013 was expected to be at least 10-15 per cent lower than the 21.5 million acres seeded to the crop in the spring of 2012, said Mike Jubinville, an analyst with ProFarmer Canada.

A lot of the acreage loss to canola will be seeded instead to wheat, barley and possibly a few other cereal crops, he said.

The overextended rotation of canola during the past number of years and the development of disease issues was a key factor in the reduced seeded area for the crop, said Chris Beckman, the oilseed analyst with the market analysis division of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Winnipeg.

"Clubroot, aster yellows as well as even more common disease issues have increased in canola as farmers across the country have tried to maximize canola yields in order to take advantage of strong financial returns," he said.

Beckman agreed a lot of the area that will not be seeded to canola was likely to go to wheat.

High prices for wheat — and the removal of the Canadian Wheat Board as the sole marketer of the grain in Western Canada — were expected to translate into farmers planting the crop, said Ken Ball, with the PI Financial Group.

Beckman forecast seeded area to canola would be at least a million acres less than the year ago, while Ball
speculated area could be down 1.2 million to 1.5 million acres.

All three, however, said that if more normal weather patterns in Canada return next spring and summer and if average yields can be achieved, production of the crop on the lower seeded area could translate into higher production than during the 2012-13 crop year.

Statistics Canada in early December pegged Canada’s 2012-13 canola output at 13.309 million tonnes. In 2011-12, Canadian canola production totalled 14.608 million tonnes.

During the 2012-13 growing season, there were some pretty adverse weather issues that trimmed the yield potential, Jubinville pointed out.

"Last year we were lucky if canola yields averaged about 28 bushels an acre," he said. "If we can bolster the average by at least five to six bushels an acre into the mid-30 bushels or better category, canola production will easily surpass that of the previous year."

Beckman and Ball also acknowledged canola output would easily be in the 15 million-tonne-plus territory if the yields were to average out, which would go a long way in satisfying the demand of both the domestic and export sectors in Canada.

– Dwayne Klassen writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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