June 29, 2020 / 1:20 PM / 13 days ago

Canadian farmers plant more wheat in 2020; coronavirus to cause problems

OTTAWA (Reuters) - Canadian farmers planted slightly more wheat overall in 2020 than in 2019, but the coronavirus outbreak will pose “unique challenges” in the production and distribution of crops, Statistics Canada said on Monday.

Farmers planted 25.0 million acres of wheat, up 1.5% from 2019, thanks in part to a 16.2% boost in durum wheat, which Statscan linked to favorable prices.

Dry conditions early in seeding aided planting progress, with the exception of much of Alberta and north-western Saskatchewan, which received more rain than usual.

The survey was conducted from May 14 to June 11, polling around 24,500 farms. Statscan said the coronavirus pandemic had not interfered with the collection of data.

Canola plantings slipped 0.8% to 20.8 million acres as farmers shifted away from oilseeds, potentially because of high global supplies. “While seeding progress during this reference period may not have been directly impacted by COVID-19, farmers have and continue to face their own set of unique challenges in the regular production and distribution of their crops due to the pandemic,” Statscan said in a commentary.

Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Edmund Blair and Paul Simao

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