High crop prices seen increasing Canadian acreage - analysts
There is almost certainly going to be an increase in seeded acreage this spring, said Ron Frost of Frost Consulting in Calgary.
"The incentive is there for acreages to be maximized to what's available. When you combine the price incentive with the solid moisture conditions across the Canadian prairies, there will likely be one of our lower summerfallow numbers," Frost said. "That's assuming the weather cooperates throughout the month of May."
Jerry Klassen, manager of GAP Grains in Winnipeg, agreed there would be more acres planted this year, and said canola would see a sizable increase from the 16.82 million acres planted in 2010.
"Cool and wet conditions tend to be favorable to canola, and, given the prices we have seen, it looks like canola will see a sharp increase and be the dominant crop," Klassen said.
Frost agreed that more canola acres would be in the offing, as he said the oilseed has shown all winter long that it very profitable in nearly all areas of the Canadian prairies.
Traders' estimates for canola for the spring of 2011 ranged from 17 million to 19.30 million acres in Canada, which compared to 16.82 million in 2010.
Frost said there is likely to more wheat planted this spring as well.
"As the winter wore on, wheat kind of caught up to canola in terms of profitability, so it should see an increase in area this year as well," he said.
Anywhere from 23.29 million to 24.8 million acres of wheat are expected to be planted this spring, according to traders' estimates. That compares to 21.06 million in 2010.
Although canola is expected to see a significant increase, Frost said the largest amplification--in terms of percentage--will come from oats and flax.
"The oats and flax are clearly the largest increase because of last year where--with the wet conditions--acres didn't get planted," Frost said. "Producers will be trying hard to work them into their rotations."
Traders' predictions for flax acres are to come in between 1.0 million and 1.4 million acres, while oats are expected to come in between 2.5 million and 3.81 million acres, with most estimates on the high end of the range. That compares to 0.92 million and 2.91 million acres of flax and oats planted respectively in 2010.
Frost said the wet spring also means a jump in barley acres is likely.
"Typically we would expect barley to see a shorter growing season than some of the wheat and canola varieties, which is why some producers will opt to plant more," he said.
Barley estimates are pegged between 5.7 million and 8.5 million acres, with most predictions on the higher side. Last year, 6.91 million acres were planted with barley in Canada.