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Ontario farmers to plant a record number of corn acres in 2020

Ontario farmers to plant a record number of corn acres in 2020

Fewer soybean acres will be planted


A survey of Ontario farmers conducted from January 15th to March 21st, 2020, is forecasting that Ontario farmers intend to plant a record amount of corn acres in 2020.  The survey was conducted by Risk Management. 

Corn acres will be up +8.07% year-on-year (Y/Y) and well above the 5-year average. The previous record of 2,225,000 acres was in 2012 and 2013.  

“This is not a big surprise after last year’s very wet spring planting season where a lot of corn acres never got planted, particularly in the very southern regions of Ontario like Essex and Haldimand counties,” said Chief Commodity Strategist Moe Agostino.

Farmers intend to plant 2% fewer soybean acres year-on-year, but the 2020 Ont. soybean acreage is still above 3 million acres and above the 5-year average. 2020 total Ont. all wheat acreage is down by 10% vs. 2019 to a 4-year low, below 1 million acres.

As noted above, Ontario farmers are expected to plant 8.07% more corn acres Y/Y, or up by +177,646 acres, to a new record of 2,380,146 acres.  Most of the increase is expected to come from Southern Ontario.

2020 ON soybean acreage will be down by 55,665 acres Y/Y, not surprisingly most of the decline will come from Southern Ontario where many farmers are increasing their corn acres.

IP soybean acres will be up by 1.00% Y/Y, at 821,379 acres, representing 26.85% of total soybean acres.

All wheat acreage is expected to be lower by 113,534 acres Y/Y, or -8.56% Y/Y, at 918,724 acres, which is below the 5-year average. The biggest increase in all wheat acreage comes from Southern Ontario, but that is offset by a drop-in wheat acreage elsewhere in the province.

Total Ont. SRW wheat acreage comes in at 79.25% of all wheat, or 780,950 acres.   

Moe Agostino, Chief Commodity Strategist at Risk Management, says, “grading issues in 2019 -- lots of #3 and #4 corn, the farther east one travelled -- were outweighing yields. The late wet planting season transitioned to a dry growing season for some regions in the province. So, farmers are hoping for a more normal year in 2020.”

Steve Denys, Director of Business Management for Maizex Seeds, says that he is not surprised by the results, but thinks “Total soybean acreage may be higher by the the time all 2020 Ontario planting is complete. This will highly be dependant on weather and fears over ethanol plants shutting down. A drop in corn-for-ethanol usage over poor margins is a major concern.”

Denys went on to say, “we could see a switch to more soybean acres, but the intital thought before COVID-19 was to plant more corn acres in 2020, due to better yields and price potential vs. soybeans.”

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The acreage estimates in the Risk Management report are based primarily on surveys conducted during January – March 2020. The 2020 Risk Management Planting Intentions Survey is a probability survey that includes a sample of farmers from across Ontario. This survey used to make acreage estimates is subject to sampling and non-sampling errors that are common to all surveys. Sampling errors represent the variability between estimates that would result if many different samples were surveyed at the same time. Sampling errors for major crops are generally between 1.0 – 3.0% but they cannot be applied directly to the acreage published in this report to determine confidence intervals because the official estimates represent a composite of information from more than a single source.


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