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StatsCan raises wheat, canola estimates with new model

(Dave Bedard photo)

CNS Canada — Wheat and canola production are expected to be higher than in previous estimates, but still lower than in 2014, according to a new Statistics Canada model for field crop production estimates.

The model-based report, released Thursday, pegs this year’s spring wheat production at 18.4 million tonnes, higher than previously forecast in the Aug. 21 Production of Principal Field Crops report, which estimated spring wheat production at about 18 million.

Despite the increase, wheat production will still be down 13 per cent from 2014.

Canola production is expected to hit 14.4 million tonnes, compared with Aug. 21 estimate of 13.3 million.

However, canola will still see an 11.6 per cent decrease from 2014.

At this point, traders are shrugging off the new information, but it could act as an influencer moving forward.

The report, using data collected up to the end of August, confirms what the market had expected, said Jerry Klassen, manager of the Canadian office for Swiss-based GAP SA Grains and Products.

“I don’t think this is having too much of an impact overall, I think it confirms we’re down from last year.

“For now I think the trade is fairly comfortable with that production number.”

The new model-based principal field estimates are calculated with a system developed by StatsCan and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

The report isn’t more or less accurate than StatsCan’s previous crop production report; it’s just a different way of collecting the information, said Cindy Carter, senior analyst for StatsCan’s crops unit.

“They’re looking at having this model replace the September survey in the future.”

The method incorporates coarse-resolution satellite and agroclimatic data and incorporates information from StatsCan’s field crop reporting series.

Klassen said traders will balance the survey-based and model-based numbers and use both to come up with a yield estimate.

“It helps give us an idea, if there was significant discrepancies on the survey — it’s one more piece of information that can be used.”

The model-based report puts soybean production across Canada at 5.9 million tonnes, up 2.1 per cent from 2014, while grain corn is expected to total 12.7 million tonnes, up 12.5 per cent.

Barley production is pegged at seven million tonnes, up 0.5 per cent from 2014, while oat production is forecast to rise 10.9 per cent to 3.2 million tonnes.

Jade Markus writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. Follow her at @jade_markus on Twitter. Includes files from Network staff.

Table: A quick summary of Statistics Canada’s model-based principal field crop estimates as of Aug. 31, 2015, released Sept. 17, 2015. Survey production estimates and last year’s crop production are included for comparison. Production in millions of tonnes.

Model.  . Survey.  . 2014-15
Spring wheat.   . 18.4 18.0 21.3
Durum 4.8 4.5 5.2
Oats 3.2 3.3 3.0
Barley 7.0 7.3 7.1
Canola 14.4 13.3 16.4
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