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AAFC forecasts lower canola and durum acres

AAFC forecasts lower canola and durum acres

Trade is affecting durum acreages, a commodity strategist said

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Canadian farmers may plant fewer acres of at least two specific crops in 2019, an Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) report says.

National seeded canola area could hover around 22.2 million acres. That figure is down from 22.7 million acres in the 2018-19 season, AAFC’s April 16 report says.

The main reason for the reduced acreages is the current trade situation with China. But other factors may be at play, said Moe Agostino, chief commodity strategist with Farms.com Risk Management.

“The general consensus is less canola acres and more wheat acres,” he told Farms.com. “But now there’s a worry that China may pick on peas as another product they may not want to import anymore.”

China emerged as Canada’s top export market for peas after India placed a 50 per cent import duty on the crop in 2017.

China could import as much as 2.1 million tonnes of peas in 2018-19, a USDA report says. Canada will provide about 90 per cent of that volume.

Market prices and weather are factoring in to planting decisions as well, Agostino said.

“If canola can maintain $10 per bushel, then farmers are going to plant the intended canola acres,” he said. “The problem is that it’s very dry in Western Canada and farmers are planting into dry soils. They’re going to need massive rains in the next 30 to 45 days to fix it, or else they might have issues.”

Durum producers could also scale back production.

Seeded durum acres could decrease by 20 per cent to 4.9 million acres, AAFC forecasted. That figure would be down from 6.2 million acres in 2018-19.

The reduction in durum planting may be fueled by a lack of trade with Italy, Agostino said.

Another report will give farmers a clearer picture of national acreages.

Statistics Canada will release its planting report on Wednesday. The markets tend to react to that report more than AAFC’s, Agostino said.

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