Ag Canada cuts soybean and corn estimates

Average yields were lower, despite an increase in harvested area

(Postmedia Network file photo)

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Noting that 2019 was a challenging crop year for many farmers, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) market analysts trimmed their forecasts for corn and soybean production.

In its latest report released on Dec. 19, AAFC pegged Canadian corn production for 2019-20 at 13.4 million tonnes (Mt), which is down by 5% from last month’s estimate and 3% lower than last year.

The report attributes the decrease to lower average yields, despite an increase in harvested area. Production in Canada’s two leading corn-producing provinces, Ontario and Quebec, decreased by 1% and 7%, respectively. Total production in Western Canada declined by 5% compared to last year and dropped by 23% for Atlantic Canada. The harvest rate in Eastern Canada was slightly higher than last year, while it was much lower in Western Canada. The average provincial yield fell for each province compared to the previous year.

The number for ending stocks, estimated at 1.8 million tonnes, is steady with last month’s estimate but down by 9% from last year.

Canadian soybean production is estimated at 6.05 Mt, down by 7% from last month’s estimate, and 18% lower than last year. AAFC says the decrease is due to a significant drop in planted area and sharply lower yields with about one-half of the losses from the expected levels occurring in Western Canada due to difficult growing and harvesting conditions. Total Canadian soybean supplies are estimated at 7.1 Mt, a 22% drop from last year, as sharply lower imports supplement the decline in output.

Domestic processing of soybeans is forecast to decline marginally to 1.8 Mt as some processors shift to crushing canola. Exports are forecast to fall sharply to 4.4 Mt due to lower supply compared to the record of 5.6 Mt in 2018-19.

Ending stocks, at 0.40 Mt, are reduced by 11% from last month and down 43% from last year.

The report made only slight changes to wheat (excluding Durum). Ending stocks were pegged at 5 Mt, which was steady with November’s estimate and up 18 % from last year. Production, estimated 27.4 Mt, is down by 0.4% from last month, but 3.5% higher than last year.

Saskatchewan accounted for 39.5% of the wheat production, Alberta 35%, Manitoba 18%, Ontario 5.5%, Quebec 1%, with the remaining 1% in the Maritimes and British Columbia. About 7% of the spring wheat area in Western Canada remained to be harvested at the start of winter.