Canadian farmers seen planting less canola than expected

Thu Apr 21, 2016 9:15am EDT
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By Rod Nickel and Simon Doyle

WINNIPEG/OTTAWA - Canadian farmers intend to plant less canola than expected, and will sow record-large areas with pulse crops, according to the government's first farmer survey of crop sowings for 2016, released on Thursday.

Wheat seedings are also expected to decline, but not as much as traders and analysts expected on average.

Statistics Canada estimated that canola seedings would span 19.3 million acres, down 4 percent from last year and below the average trade estimate of 20.4 million acres.

"The market will view this as supportive" to canola prices, said Jerry Klassen, manager of GAP SA Grains and Produits. "The focus now turns to yields. We cannot afford a crop problem with the lower acreage."

Canola prices are likely to be more sensitive than usual to weather during the growing season, Klassen added.

ICE Canada November canola futures, representing the next crop, rose 1 percent in morning trading.

All-wheat plantings were forecast at 23.8 million acres, down 1 percent, but topping the average trade expectation of 23.2 million acres. The decline in the category was due to a forecast 6 percent drop in spring wheat sowings, to 16 million acres, while durum plantings are expected to rise 5 percent to 6.1 million acres.

Back-to-back droughts in India, the world's largest importer of edible oils and pulses, has boosted prices and made pulses attractive to Canadian farmers, taking up acres that might otherwise have grown spring wheat and canola.   Continued...

Farmers drive combines harvesting canola while harvesting on Barry Lang's farm near Beiseker, Alberta, September 27, 2013. REUTERS/Todd Korol