Canada farmers boost wheat but drop barley: Statscan

Mon Apr 21, 2008 12:27pm EDT
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By Roberta Rampton

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Farmers in Canada, one of the world's largest wheat exporters, plan to seed 16.2 percent more acres to wheat this spring, mainly at the expense of barley and oats, Statistics Canada said on Monday.

Farmers told Statscan they intend to plant 25.109 million acres of all types of wheat, up from 21.617 million acres last year, and above average trade estimates ahead of the report of 24.4 million acres.

The plantings will boost short world supplies of high-protein wheat, used to make bread flour, but are not likely to overwhelm the market, said Dave Reimann, senior analyst with Informa Economics Inc.

"The question is, are we going to have enough high-protein (wheat)? This number suggests that at least the buffer has got a chance to build," Reimann said.

"I'm not sure that anyone will look at this and say, 'We're going to be swamped with high-protein wheat now,"' he said.

Traders said farmers decided to plant more wheat this year because of historically high prices combined with cheaper costs than canola for fertilizer and other skyrocketing inputs.

New-crop Minneapolis wheat futures were down 4.4 percent at $9.27 per bushel early on Monday, due in part to the Statscan report.

Statscan said plantings of durum, used to make pasta, will jump 22.5 percent to 5.9 million acres, above average trade forecasts of 5.7 million acres.   Continued...