Wet conditions to hit Western Canada wheat crop: CWB

Tue Jun 14, 2011 5:04pm EDT
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By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Canada's western crop belt will produce less wheat, but more durum and barley this year, as excessive moisture drowns fields in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, the Canadian Wheat Board said on Tuesday in its first forecast of the year for the region.

Flooding has hit the world's biggest spring wheat and durum exporter for the second straight year, shrinking spring wheat acres to their second-lowest level since 1971.

Farmers will be unable to plant six million to eight million acres of all crops, the Wheat Board said, down from about 10 million a year ago, but still relatively high.

Quality of crops may also be a problem. Bruce Burnett, the board's director of weather and market analysis, said he has "serious concerns," about autumn frost damaging immature crops.

Farmers on the Canadian Prairie will produce 20.3 million metric tones of all-wheat, down 3 percent from last year, along with 3.8 million metric tones of durum (up 27 percent) and 7.7 million metric tones of barley (up 10 percent), the Wheat Board said at its annual crop industry briefing in Winnipeg, after grain markets closed.

(Graphic on historic production: r.reuters.com/myf22s)

Western Canada's spring wheat production is especially crucial this year, with the northern U.S. Plains flooded, the U.S. winter wheat crop shriveled by drought, and tight global stocks of top-quality milling wheat.

Spring wheat production will fall by 1.2 million metric tones, or 7 percent, to 15.9 million metric tones.   Continued...