Statistics Canada says Canadian farmers produced more wheat, soybeans, corn for grain, barley and oats in 2020 as a result of favourable conditions compared with the previous year, while canola production was down from a year earlier.
Although 2020 has been a difficult year for all Canadians including some agricultural operators due to COVID-19, challenges associated with the pandemic do not appear to have affected principal field crop production.
Crop conditions were relatively dry across much of Canada throughout the year, with the exception of most of Alberta and northern Saskatchewan.
This spring, dry conditions provided most farmers with the opportunity to complete planting on schedule. A lack of rain persisted into the summer, potentially affecting crop yields.
Harvest conditions nationwide were significantly improved compared with 2019, with favourable weather conditions helping farmers complete harvesting early in many areas. In fact, in parts of Western Canada, most of the crops were already harvested prior to the start of survey collection on October 9, 2020.
Greater area and higher yields push wheat production higher
Total wheat production rose 7.7% to 35.2 million tonnes in 2020 largely due to higher production on the Prairies. Yields (+3.8% to 52.2 bushels per acre) and harvested area (+3.8% to 24.8 million acres) were both up from a year earlier.
In Saskatchewan, wheat yields increased 1.8% to 45.9 bushels per acre, while harvested area increased 2.2% to 12.8 million acres, resulting in a 4.1% rise in wheat production to 16.0 million tonnes.
Both yields (+6.7% to 55.8 bushels per acre) and harvested area (+0.9% to 7.3 million acres) were up in Alberta, resulting in a 7.6% increase in production to 11.0 million tonnes.
In Manitoba, wheat production was up 4.4% to 5.3 million tonnes. Yields increased 0.8% to 61.3 bushels per acre, while harvested area rose 3.5%.
Canola production falls as harvested area and yields decline
Canola production decreased 4.5% nationally to 18.7 million tonnes in 2020, as both Saskatchewan and Alberta reported lower production. Yields decreased 3.1% to 40.1 bushels per acre, while harvested area fell 1.6%. Canola yield may have been impacted by dry conditions across parts of the Prairies, especially later in the growing season.
In Saskatchewan, canola production was down 8.0% to 10.2 million tonnes, driven by lower yields (-4.6% to 39.8 bushels per acre) and harvested area (-3.5% to 11.3 million acres).
Canola yield in Alberta decreased 0.2% to 40.2 bushels per acre, while harvested area fell 1.8%, resulting in a 2.0% production decrease to 5.2 million tonnes.
In Manitoba, canola production was up 4.4% to 3.2 million tonnes. Harvested area rose 5.9% to 3.4 million acres, while yields fell 1.4% to 41.4 bushels per acre.
Higher corn for grain production as yields increase
Total corn for grain production rose 1.2% to 13.6 million tonnes in 2020. Harvested area fell 3.0% to 3.5 million acres, while yields rose 4.3% to 153.5 bushels per acre.
Ontario farmers reported that harvested area decreased 0.3% to 2.1 million acres in 2020. The decrease in area was offset by higher yields, which rose 3.5% to 163.9 bushels per acre, bringing production up 3.1% from 2019 to 8.9 million tonnes.
Corn for grain production in Quebec was down 3.1% from a year earlier to 3.3 million tonnes. Harvested area fell 5.4% to 887,800 acres, while yields rose 2.3% to 144.7 bushels per acre.
Farmers report producing more soybeans
Soybean production increased 3.5% nationally to 6.4 million tonnes in 2020. A 15.2% increase in yields more than offset a 10.1% decrease in harvested area.
In Ontario, soybean production rose 5.4% to 3.9 million tonnes on higher yields (+15.0% to 50.7 bushels per acre). Harvested area decreased 8.3% to 2.8 million acres.
In Manitoba, soybean production rose 3.6% to 1.2 million tonnes despite an 18.9% decrease in harvested area to 1.1 million acres. Yields were up for the first time in three years, rising by 27.7% to 37.3 bushels per acre as a result of favourable growing conditions.
Soybean production in Quebec edged up 1.2% from a year earlier to 1.2 million tonnes. The increase in yield (+3.9% to 48.4 bushels per acre) more than offset a 2.4% decline in harvested area.
Barley and oat production rise
Total barley production rose 3.4% to 10.7 million tonnes in 2020. Both harvested area (+3.0% to 6.9 million acres) and yields (+0.4% to 71.1 bushels per acre) contributed to the increase.
Oat production increased 8.2% nationally to 4.6 million tonnes on higher harvested areas (+12.6% to 3.2 million acres), offsetting lower yields (-3.9% to 91.3 bushels per acre).Click here to see more...