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Large canola crop anticipated in StatsCan report

Statistics Canada will release its first look at what grain and oilseed production in Canada will look like in the 2012-13 crop year on Wednesday, with some participants anticipating pretty big numbers for canola and wheat.

Some industry players are of the belief that disease and weather during the development stage hurt the yield potential of canola, which in turn has resulted in some reduced production ideas. However, others feel canola yield potential remains at record-high levels.

"This might be one of the few reports that the timing of the survey was not off by much," said Ken Ball, a broker with Union Securities Ltd. in Winnipeg. He noted the survey was conducted when the crops were fairly well developed, with producers in turn having a pretty good idea of potential production.

"Early harvest results would suggest the average canola yield will be trimmed from earlier expectations, as a combination of above-average temperatures, dryness, bouts of excess moisture, above-average hail damage, disease pressures and a few incidence of insect problems through the summer have all combined to take the edge off an otherwise bumper crop," said Ron Frost, an analyst with Frost Forecast Consulting in Calgary.

Canola yields could slip to near 32 bushels an acre if heat damage is found to be more widespread as the harvest progresses, he said.

However, Frost also pointed out that until more harvest results are available crop condition ratings would suggest average yields were still very likely.

Mike Jubinville, an analyst with ProFarmer Canada, also felt the yield potential for canola had been reduced by the weather during the development stage.

Yields were falling well short of expectations, he said, particularly in Manitoba where the harvest was the furthest along.

Early harvest results in Saskatchewan and Alberta were also suggesting a smaller-than-expected canola crop, he said.

However, Jerry Klassen, manager of GAP Grains and Produits SA in Winnipeg, said the yield potential of canola continues to look above-average and will result in an extremely large crop.

He acknowledged early results in Manitoba have been lower than anticipated, but the key growing regions of Saskatchewan and Alberta have yet to see the harvest get underway and when it does, yields will be easily above-average if not at record levels.

Pre-report canola production estimates ranged from 15.6 million tonnes to as high as 17 million. In 2011-12 Canadian canola output totalled 14.2 million tonnes.

All wheat production in Canada was expected to be very large, Frost conceded. He noted that early harvest results have show wheat yields to be very strong in general and the crops appears to have been less affected by some of the weather issues.

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

Analysts’ pre-report ideas of Canadian crop production as of Aug. 21, 2012, in millions of tonnes.

Crop Pre-report 2011
  ideas production
Canola 15.500-17.000 14.164
Flaxseed 0.495-0.592 0.368
All wheat 26.000-28.206 25.261
– Durum 4.750-5.112 4.172
Barley 8.590-8.948 7.755
Oats 2.750-3.100 2.997
Peas 3.110-3.400 2.116
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