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AAFC forecasts more canola acres in 2018

AAFC forecasts more canola acres in 2018

The increased production could help offset a reduction in pulse acres

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

Canadian canola growers are expected to seed more acres than last year, according to new Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) figures.

Canola producers could seed more than 24 million acres in 2018. That number is up from about 22 million acres last year and about 20 million acres in 2016, according to AAFC’s latest Outlook for Principal Field Crops.

In addition, AAFC forecasts that total canola production could rise to more than 19 million metric tonnes this year.

While the increased acres may sound like good news now, farmers will have to wait until harvest to determine if planting more canola was indeed a good idea, according to Doyle Wiebe, chair of the SaskCanola board of directors.

“We recognize that having too many canola acres can be detrimental in the future because it can spur on certain diseases that are controlled through crop rotations and other agronomic practices,” he said to on Friday. “Those insects and diseases could multiply in a higher density of canola acres.”

Farmers are expected to decrease their production of pulses this year, according to AAFC’s report.

Seeded pulse acres could be around 7.6 million acres in 2018, down from 9.7 million acres last year.

And analysts are pointing at an international trade relationship as a reason for the increased canola acres.

India, Canada’s biggest pulse crop importer, has placed a 50 per cent tariff on pea imports and a 30 per cent tariff on chickpeas and lentils.

As a result, producers are converting acres to other crops to offset the market uncertainty.

“Definitely we think pulses are going to be impacted by the economic prices and entire India situation,” Neil Townsend, analyst with FarmLink Marketing Solutions, told 620 CKRM on Friday.

Farmers are also expected to increase their wheat acres this year.

Canadian growers could seed more than 23 million acres of wheat in 2018, up by about 500,000 acres from last year, AAFC estimates.

Wheat production estimates are also up.

Farmers could harvest up to 27 million metric tons of wheat this year. That number would be up slightly from last year’s harvest, according to AAFC.