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Canadian farmers to harvest less wheat in 2014

Published August 22, 2014 11:16 am

Agriculture • Wheat production forecast to be down 26 percent, canola 23 percent.
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Winnipeg, Manitoba • Canadian wheat growers will probably reduce output by 26 percent this year and canola production will also fall, the government's statistics agency said Thursday.

Wheat production will drop to 27.7 million metric tons from a record 37.5 million in 2013, Statistics Canada said in a report from Ottawa. The average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News was 29.1 million. The canola harvest in Canada, the world's largest grower, will fall 23 percent to 13.9 million tons. Analysts had forecast 14.8 million.

Growers on the prairies said excessive rains in late June were likely to limit harvests, after flooding prompted local governments in Saskatchewan and Manitoba to declare states of emergency. Canadian farmers see output at "more normal levels" in 2014 after record spring-wheat, durum and canola crops last year, Statistics Canada said.

"The report in general is below the trade's estimates," David Reimann, a market analyst at Cargill Ltd. in Winnipeg, Manitoba, said in a telephone interview. "It's a bit supportive to the canola market."

The report is "mildly bullish" for canola as there may not be enough supplies to maintain the current level of exports and domestic processing, John Duvenaud, the publisher of Wild Oats Grain Market Advisory, said Thursday on a conference call.

At the same time, any rally in canola prices may be limited by the "landslide" of soybeans expected from the U.S., Reimann said. Output will rise to an all-time high of 3.82 billion bushels this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said on Aug. 12.

Canada's spring-wheat output will drop 27 percent to 20 million tons, while durum will fall 24 percent to 4.95 million tons. Soybean production is expected to increase to 5.9 million tons, surpassing the all-time high of 5.2 million tons a year earlier, the government agency said.

Statistics Canada said it interviewed about 12,850 farmers from July 23 to Aug. 4.

While planting in many parts of Western Canada was delayed this spring by cool weather and excess rain, warmer, drier conditions have helped fields recover, reports from Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan show. More warm weather is needed as crops are 10 days to two weeks behind normal development in many areas in Saskatchewan, Canada's largest producer of wheat and canola, the province said in an Aug. 14 report.

"The crops in general are average at best," Wayne Palmer, a senior market analyst with Agri-Trend Marketing in Winnipeg, said in an e-mailed statement before the report. It's "a total different story this year with crop production."

Farmers collected record supplies of wheat and canola in 2013 amid higher average yields. Yields are expected to stay above average in 2014 even after the delayed planting and flooding in parts of the prairies, CWB said after a July tour.




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