Canada farmers to boost wheat plantings-trade

Thu Apr 17, 2008 2:42pm EDT
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By Roberta Rampton

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Record wheat prices will probably tempt Canadian farmers to boost wheat plantings by more than 12 percent, grain traders and analysts said ahead of a key report from Statistics Canada on Monday.

Traders expected Statscan's planting intentions report, slated for release Monday at 7:30 a.m. CDT (8:30 a.m. EDT), to also show farmers will grow more oilseeds and peas, but less barley and oats.

All-wheat plantings were forecast, on average, to rise to 24.4 million acres from 21.617 million acres last year, by traders polled by Reuters ahead of the report.

They anticipated total seeded acreage to rise as record prices for all crops give farmers incentive to tear up cattle pastures and leave as little land idled as possible.

"As was the case in the U.S., it is apparent that total acres are going to go up, as growers push to cash in on the big prices," a broker said, adding his farmer clients continued to make last-minute changes to crop plans, muddying forecasts.

Statscan surveyed 16,000 farmers by phone between March 20 and 31, but farmers are only now beginning to plant crops in the southernmost parts of the Prairie grain belt.

Planting is usually in full swing in early May.

World markets hungry for new wheat supplies will closely watch Statscan's wheat prediction, analysts said.   Continued...