Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Unharvested crops skew StatsCan stocks data

File photo of canola under snow in October 2016. (Lisa Guenther photo)

MarketsFarm — Canadian canola stocks were slightly tighter at the end of the 2019 calendar year compared to the previous year, according to updated Statistics Canada data.

However, adverse harvest conditions left a large amount of the crop unaccounted for in the survey, which skews the overall supply/demand outlook.

“Because of poor weather conditions during harvest, a substantial amount of crops likely remained unharvested at the time of the survey,” StatsCan said while reporting the data.

“Farmers were asked to include only crops harvested and currently in storage when reporting stocks of principal field crops. Crops harvested after the collection period for the December survey will be included in later surveys.”

Using that criteria, canola stocks as of Dec. 31, 2019, were pegged at 14.3 million tonnes. That would be down 2.4 per cent from the previous year, but still 5.1 per cent above the five-year (2014-18) average.

However, industry participants estimate that one million to two million tonnes of canola were left to overwinter and be harvested in the spring.

“We just don’t know what’s out there,” MarketsFarm Pro analyst Mike Jubinville said, adding that the uncertainty makes it impossible to use the StatsCan stocks numbers to determine usage trends for many crops.

Total wheat stocks, as of Dec. 31, were estimated at 25 million tonnes, which would be down slightly from the previous year but a million tonnes above the five-year average.

Corn stocks, at 10.7 million tonnes, were down by nearly a million from the previous year. Reported soybean stocks were also down on the year, at 3.9 million tonnes.

While the complete supply picture won’t be fully known until subsequent reports after the spring harvest, Jubinville noted that pulse crops were harvested earlier and were likely all included in the latest data.

Lentil supplies of 1.8 million tonnes were down by about 300,000 tonnes on the year, while the 2.6 million tonnes of peas were up by nearly 100,000 tonnes.

Table: A recap of Statistics Canada’s stocks report for the period ended Dec. 31, 2019. Figures are in millions of metric tonnes.

Total stocks, Total stocks, Five-year avg.
Dec. 31, 2019.    . Dec. 31, 2018.    . (2014-18)
Barley 5.959 4.943 5.711
Canola 14.271 14.618 13.601
Flaxseed 0.380 0.410 0.573
Oats 2.671 2.406 2.574
All wheat.    . 24.982 25.109 24.000
Durum 4.516 5.478 4.934
Lentils 1.801 2.116 1.757
Peas 2.632 2.550 2.547
Soybeans 3.874 4.277 3.775
Corn 10.686 11.628 11.345
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