Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

December StatsCan report could vary from years past

government of canada
(Dave Bedard photo)

CNS Canada — After this fall’s long, drawn-out harvest, some analysts predict Statistics Canada’s final Production of Principal Field Crops numbers could vary from the usual pattern.

StatsCan’s report, due out Thursday, is a “very uncertain” report “because that was probably one of the most bizarre falls we’ve ever had on the Prairies,” said Ken Ball of PI Financial in Winnipeg.

StatsCan’s production reports usually follow a pattern in which the numbers released earlier in the growing year are lower, then each subsequent report usually sees the production levels grow. However, this year could see the numbers closer to previous reports than in years past.

This growing season varied from a “normal” year. Hot, dry weather throughout August caused stress on crops and in September, Mother Nature pulled a complete 180°, switching to cold, wet weather which delayed harvest well into October.

“I think probably the model numbers maybe overestimated things a bit this year,” Ball said. “So I think most people are guessing that the real crop is sort of somewhere in between the model number and the July report.”

From pre-report estimates collected by CNS Canada, many market analysts expect wheat production to grow, with estimates for total wheat production falling between 30.4 million and 32.247 million tonnes, which would be higher than the August survey-based report, but in line with the September model-based report.

Canola production estimates are between 20.2 million and 21.3 million tonnes — in line with the September report, but higher than in August’s.

Another analyst thinks the report could vary greatly and pack some surprises. Talking with farmers in northern Alberta, who were largely affected by the delayed harvest, Mike Jubinville of ProFarmer Canada has heard harvest results differed from town to town.

“It may be more of a quality issue than it is a yield issue. But there’s been an issue there because they went through a month of crop that was either sitting in swath or uncut because it got cold and wet,” he said.

Jubinville expects there could be some trimming of production numbers from the September report, due to the challenging harvest.

“But there’s an incredible resiliency to these crops that they may stand up better than we think and hold up and not really get trimmed too much,” he said.

— Ashley Robinson writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Glacier FarmMedia company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. Follow her at @ashleymr1993 on Twitter.

Table: Trade estimates, in millions of tonnes, ahead of StatsCan’s Dec. 6, 2018 Production of Principal Field Crops report.

Pre-report September, August, Final
trade estimates,.     . model-based,.    . survey-based,.   . production,
2018-19 2018-19 2018-19 2017-18
Durum 5.400 – 6.178 5.706 5.034 4.962
All wheat.    . 30.400 – 32.247 31.019 28.988 29.984
Oats 3.100 – 3.400 3.383 3.205 3.733
Barley 8.000 – 8.500 8.227 7.991 7.891
Flaxseed 0.512 – 0.550 0.511 0.492 0.555
Canola 20.200 – 21.300 20.999 19.162 21.328
Peas 3.600 – 3.999 3.735 3.635 4.112
Lentils 2.100 – 2.404 2.230 2.167 2.559
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