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Cdn. farmers expected to plant fewer canola acres in 2024

Cdn. farmers expected to plant fewer canola acres in 2024

Stats Canada lists two reasons why

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer

Canadian farmers intend to reduce the number of planted canola acres in 2024.

Growers are expected to plant about 21.4 million acres of canola this year, down around 3.1 per cent from 2023, March 2024 data from Stats Canada says.

Farmers planted 22.1 million acres of canola in 2023.

On a provincial level, Saskatchewan farmers are expected to decrease canola acres the most.

Farmers there are pulling back canola acres by 4.9 per cent, followed by a 2.4 per cent reduction in each of Alberta and Manitoba.

Stats Canada is pointing to two reasons why producers are scaling back canola acres.

“The decline in expected seeded area may have been driven by lower prices for canola, in addition to other concerns including soil moisture in Western Canada,” the report says.

In terms of prices, at the beginning of 2023, prices for that year’s canola crop were expected to be around $19 per bushel.

For comparison, ICE canola futures for May 2024 forecasts prices of just under $14 per bushel.

And most of Western Canada is facing some sort of drought.

Prairie provinces and B.C. received snow in February, but not enough to make up for the lack of moisture this winter.

“Coastal regions of British Columbia, the northern Prairies, much of Manitoba and the Central Region received below to well below normal precipitation,” Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada says in its February 2024 drought assessment. “While this is a positive change for western Canada, the amount of precipitation received, even at above normal levels was insignificant in terms of drought relief.”

Some crops will see upticks in the number of acres planted.

Canadian farmers are expected to plant more lentil acres in 2024 compared to last year.

Nationally, farmers intend to seed 3.8 million acres of lentils, representing an increase of 4.4 per cent from 2023.

“Farmers in Saskatchewan, where almost 90% of Canada's lentils are grown, expect seeded area to rise 5.5% to 3.4 million acres, while lentil area in Alberta is expected to decrease 3.7% to 451,000 acres,” Stats Canada says.

Dry pea acres are also expected to increase by 2.4 per cent to 3.1 million acres compared to last year.

Other highlights from the Stats Canada report include:

  • Canadian farmers expect to plant 27 million acres of wheat.
  • Durum acres are set to increase by 5.1 per cent to 6.3 million acres.
  • Manitoba farmers are reducing soybean acres by 7.2 per cent to 1.5 million acres.
  • Acres of corn for grain are expected to rise by 1.6 per cent to 3.9 million acres.

Stats Canada surveyed more than 9,000 farmers between December 2023 and January 2024, asking them to provide planting intentions for grains, oilseeds and special crops.

Data on final acreages will be released this December.

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