Western Grains Boom at Expense of Oilseeds

OTTAWA - Dec 6/19 - SNS -- Grain production in western Canada increased this year, while oilseed and corn output was down significantly over last year, according to Statistics Canada's final crop production estimates for 2019.

"The 2019 crop year was a difficult one for many farmers nationally. Heavy rain, coupled with colder than normal temperatures, made planting conditions difficult in much of Eastern Canada early in the crop year, while overly dry conditions in parts of Western Canada persisted well into the growing season," noted Statistics Canada.

"At the time of harvest, higher than average precipitation across Canada, including early snow in the Prairies, slowed harvest for many farmers and will likely result in unharvested crops remaining on the field over the winter."

Nationally, soybean production fell 18.5% to 6.0 million metric tons (MT) in 2019. The decrease was attributable to lower harvested area (down 10.6% to 5.6 million acres) and yields (down 8.8% to 39.6 bushels per acre). Poor weather conditions throughout the major soybean-producing provinces likely contributed to the decrease in yields from a year earlier.

Harvested area in Ontario increased 2.8% to 3.1 million acres in 2019. Despite higher harvested area, farmers reported that yields fell 7.3 bushels per acre to 44.1 bushels per acre, bringing production down 11.7% to 3.7 million MT.

Farmers in Manitoba reported a lower harvested area for the second consecutive year, down 24.5% to 1.4 million acres in 2019. Yields fell 14.1% to 29.2 bushels per acre, bringing production down 35.2% from 2018 to 1.1 million MT -- the lowest level in the province since 2014.

Farmers in Quebec reported that yields fell 9.2% to 42.6 bushels per acre in 2019. Harvested acres were down 1.1% to 903,100 acres. As a result, soybean production was down 10.1% to 1.0 million MT.

Canola production decreased 8.3% nationally to 18.6 million MT in 2019?its lowest level since 2015. Lower production was largely attributable to lower harvested area, which fell 8.8% year over year to 20.6 million acres. Despite a dry start to the growing season in parts of Western Canada and poor conditions throughout the Prairies during the harvest, yields rose 0.5% to 40.0 bushels per acre.

Saskatchewan, Canada's largest canola-producing province, led the decrease with farmers reporting a 7.3% drop in production to 10.1 million MT. This decrease was attributable to lower harvested area, which declined 7.1% to 11.4 million acres. Yields were unchanged from 2018, at 39.3 bushels per acre.

Farmers in Alberta reported that canola yields rose 3.9% to 40.3 bushels per acre in 2019. Despite the increase in yield, harvested area fell 12.9% to 5.8 million acres, bringing total production down 9.4% to 5.3 million MT.

Harvested area in Manitoba declined 5.0% to 3.2 million acres in 2019, while yields fell 3.0% to 42.0 bushels per acre. As a result, canola production in the province was down 7.9% to 3.1 million MT in 2019.

Excellent Wheat Yields

In Saskatchewan, wheat farmers reported that yields rose 5.0% to 44.4 bushels per acre, while harvested area decreased 2.1% to 12.5 million acres. Wheat production in Saskatchewan rose 2.7% to 15.1 million MT.

Wheat farmers in Alberta reported that production rose 2.6% to 10.3 million MT, driven by higher yields, up 5.2% to 52.3 bushels per acre. Meanwhile, harvested area decreased 2.5% to 7.2 million acres.

Manitoba farmers reported that yields fell 1.8% to 59.8 bushels per acre in 2019. Despite the decrease in yields, harvested area rose 5.7% to 3.1 million acres, resulting in a 3.7% production increase to 5.0 million MT.

Nationally, farmers reported that barley production rose 23.9% to 10.4 million MT in 2019. Harvested area was up 13.9% to 6.7 million acres, while yields rose 8.9% to 70.8 bushels per acre.

Farmers reported that oat production rose 21.0% to 4.2 million MT in 2019. The increase in oat production was driven by higher yields (up 4.9% to 94.1 bushels per acre) and harvested area (up 15.4% to 2.9 million acres).

Nationally, farmers reported that corn for grain production fell 3.5% to 13.4 million MT in 2019. The decrease stemmed from lower yields, which fell 4.8% to 147.2 bushels per acre. The decline was partially offset by a 1.4% increase in harvested area. Corn production was likely affected by cold and wet conditions during the spring, which delayed planting, as well as dry conditions throughout the growing season and poor weather during harvest in Ontario and Quebec, where approximately 85% of the corn in Canada is grown.

Ontario farmers reported that harvested area increased 3.2% to 2.1 million acres in 2019. The increase in area was offset by lower yields, which fell 4.6% to 158.4 bushels per acre, bringing production down 1.5% from 2018 to 8.6 million MT.

Farmers in Quebec reported that harvested area edged down 1.0% to 938,000 acres in 2019. Despite the relatively stable acreage, yields fell 6.0% to 141.4 bushels per acre, contributing to a 6.9% decrease in production to 3.4 million MT.