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Canola Crop Under Duress

Canola fields across the Prairies are in duress as a result of another heat wave.

Justine Cornelsen is an agronomy specialist with the Canola Council of Canada.

"The high temperatures will be contributing to the heat blast," she said. "What happens there is the pods don't end up forming, so they drop off. With how dry it's been, we're also going to really struggle to fill those pods. Yes, we might have pods forming, but then the seeds within them will not plump up and be full...The canola is starting to root really deep so it's getting into some of that subsoil moisture, but we continue to need moisture throughout this hot period."

She notes one positive is that disease pressure is low.

Neil Townsend, chief market analyst with FarmLink Marketing Solutions, says they're expecting lower yields this year.

"We've been fairly conservative with reducing our yield. We are low, we're at about 37.5 bushels an acre, which really greatly constricts the supply and necessitates demand destruction, both domestically and in particular offshore."

He added the weather forecast is not favourable.

"The next 10 days the weather looks very grim for western Canada. I think the yield probably has more downside to it, than upside. That's going to be very favourable for the pricing because canola has a definitely strong demand base and I don't think people have really got the message yet that our supply is going to be very tight."

Townsend says while the crop has rebounded before, this year might be different.

"We're bullish canola for price, but we're bearish for canola for production. The price might be high but people might be getting a half or a third of a crop of what they expected. The one thing I will caution is, I don't think there's a person alive who totally understands how to forecast canola and how canola is going to end up. I don't want to totally write off the crop because we've been surprised before in the past when we thought the crop was under some duress. The only point I'll make is that this is the most significant duress the crop has been under in the last 10 years easily."

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