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Jury out on StatsCan canola production estimate

The jury is still out on whether the last Canadian production survey of 2012 will reveal smaller or larger canola supplies than what the early October report did, based on feedback from the industry.

The report, scheduled to be released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday, will finalize Canada’s 2012 grain and oilseed production.

The main focus of the report will likely be canola, with wheat and barley taking on a secondary importance, said Ken Ball, a broker with PI Financial Group in Winnipeg.

He acknowledged despite canola supplies in Canada being larger or smaller, demand for the commodity from the export and domestic sectors will guarantee that stocks at the end of the 2012-13 crop year will be tight.

Jon Driedger, an analyst with FarmLink Marketing Solutions in Winnipeg, agreed that smaller or larger canola production in the StatsCan survey will ultimately make little difference.

"There are ideas that wind damage to the crop that occurred after the government agency’s last survey may have resulted in canola output being a bit smaller," Driedger said.

However, he also noted indications that some extra acreage may have been harvested, resulting in production coming in a bit larger.

Canadian 2012 canola production estimates for the survey ranged from 13 million tonnes to 14.4 million. In October, canola production in Canada was pegged at 13.359 million tonnes. In 2011-12 Canadian canola production came in at a record 14.493 million tonnes.

Larger-than-anticipated area being harvested should be enough to nudge the production projections for both wheat and barley slightly higher than what was forecast in October, Ball said. Slightly better than expected yields were also seen helping to boost the production forecast.

All wheat production in Canada was seen ranging from 26.5 million tonnes to as large as 27.4 million, with most participants anticipating output to be closer to 27.0 million tons. In October, StatsCan pegged 2012-13 all wheat production at 26.733 million tonnes, which compares with the 2011-12 level of 25.261 million tonnes.

Barley production estimates for the report were in the 8.5 million- to 8.9 million-tonne range. In October, the government agency pegged 2012 barley output in Canada at 8.59 million tonnes, which compares with the 2011-12 level of 7.755 million.

Mike Jubinville, an analyst with ProFarmer Canada in Winnipeg, said barley output was likely to be a bit larger than the October forecast as again, harvested area and slightly better than anticipated yield potential will boost the production projection.

Only minor adjustments were expected to the production estimates for other grains and oilseeds.

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

Table: Preliminary projections for StatsCan’s Dec. 5 final report, in millions of tonnes.

Commodity December estimate October estimate 2011-12
Canola 13.000-14.400 13.359 14.493
Flaxseed 0.490-0.520 0.510 0.368
All wheat 26.500-27.400 26.733 25.261
   Durum 4.230-4.450 4.398 4.172
Barley 8.500-8.900 8.590 7.755
Oats 2.875-3.120 2.938 2.997
Peas 2.670-2.850 2.793 2.501
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