According to the June Field Crop Survey conducted by Statistics Canada, Canadian farmers expect to plant more barley, corn for grain, dry peas, lentils and oats in 2019, but fewer acres of wheat, canola and soybeans.
At the time of the survey, seeding in Western Canada was well under way, aided by dry conditions throughout much of the Prairies. Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba all reported seeding rates well above the five-year average.
Conversely, planting in Eastern Canada has been delayed due to high rainfall and cool temperatures. This may result in some changes in seeded area estimates later in the reporting cycle, as some estimates provided by farmers in Eastern Canada may have been intentions at the time of the survey.
Nationally, farmers reported planting 24.6 million acres of wheat in 2019, down 0.6% from 2018. Lower wheat area was led by durum wheat which declined 20.9% to 4.9 million acres, likely due to lower demand. In comparison, spring wheat area rose 8.4% to 18.8 million acres.
Farmers in Saskatchewan reported that wheat area edged down 0.4% to 12.9 million acres. While spring wheat increased 11.1% to 8.7 million acres, this increase was offset by durum, which declined 17.8% to 4.1 million acres.
Alberta farmers reported planting 7.4 million acres of wheat, 1.0% less than in 2018. Spring wheat area increased, from 6.3 million acres in 2018 to 6.6 million acres in 2019. This was offset by a 34.6% decrease in durum wheat to 775,000 acres.
Farmers in Manitoba reported that total wheat planting was up 8.8% to 3.2 million acres.
Nationally, Canadian farmers reported planting 21.0 million acres of canola in 2019, down 8.2% from 2018. While the seeded area in 2019 was the lowest since 2016, it still represented the fourth highest canola area on record. The decrease in canola seeded area was likely influenced by lower prices compared with the previous year. Lower prices may be attributable to limited access to Chinese export markets as well as high global supply of oilseeds.
Saskatchewan farmers reported planting 11.6 million acres of canola in 2019, down 6.5% from 2018.
In Alberta, producers reported that seeded canola area was down 12.9% from 2018 to 5.9 million acres.
Farmers in Manitoba reported that canola area was down 3.2% to 3.3 million acres.
Nationally, producers reported planting 5.7 million acres of soybeans in 2019, down 9.6% from 2018.
Farmers in Ontario, which generally accounts for the largest area of soybeans, reported planting 3.1% more soybeans to a record high 3.1 million acres of soybeans. Wet, cool conditions have delayed planting throughout the province, and may have prompted some farmers to plant soybeans rather than corn.
Farmers in Manitoba were the main contributor to the national decrease in soybean area, down 22.2% in the province to 1.5 million acres. This was the second consecutive year that farmers in Manitoba reduced planted area of soybeans. Soybean yields in Manitoba have decreased over the past several years due in part to a lack of rain. Lower yields may have prompted some farmers to reduce soybean area.
In Quebec, farmers reported planting 1.0% fewer acres of soybeans to 906,200 acres.
Barley and oats
Across Canada, farmers report planting 14.0% more acres of barley to 7.4 million acres. Barley area increased in all three Prairie provinces, which together accounted for 95.2% of barley area in Canada. The larger seeded area may be due to higher prices resulting from low global stocks and the higher anticipated need for livestock feed. Higher barley prices may also have influenced some farmers to plant barley instead of canola, given ongoing trade issues.
Farmers reported planting 3.6 million acres of oats in 2019, up 18.1% from a year earlier. Like barley, low supplies have resulted in higher prices, which may have producers opting to plant a larger area compared with a year earlier. The increase in oat area was concentrated primarily in Saskatchewan (+390,900 acres).
Corn for grain
Nationally, farmers reported that corn for grain acreage was up 1.9% from the previous year to 3.7 million acres in 2019. While the March Field Crop Survey indicated that farmers intended to plant more corn than in 2018, poor weather conditions may have impacted actual seeded area.
Ontario producers reported planting 2.2 million acres of corn in 2019, up 2.2% from a year earlier. Corn area was down slightly in Quebec at 945,100 acres.
Farmers in Manitoba also reported higher seeded area for corn than in 2018.
Lentils and peas
In 2019, Canadian farmers reported planting about the same area of lentils as in 2018, edging up 0.3% to 3.8 million acres, despite ongoing import tariffs imposed by India, which the Indian government has extended until at least 2020.
Nationally, farmers also reported seeding more dry peas, up 19.8% from 2018 to 4.3 million acres. The increase was concentrated primarily in Saskatchewan, which reported planting 399,600 acres more in 2019.