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UPDATE 1-Canadian canola harvest expected to drop 4.8%, the smallest in four years

By Kelsey Johnson

OTTAWA, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Canadian canola production is expected to fall 4.8% to 19.4 million tonnes in 2019 despite higher yields, Statistics Canada said on Thursday in a survey based in part on satellite and agroclimatic data, making it the smallest harvested canola crop anticipated in four years.

Canola yields are expected to jump 3.8% to 41.3 bushels per acre, while harvested area was set to fall 8.3%, Statscan said.

Using the same model, the agency said total wheat production is expected to increase 0.9% from last year, totaling 32.5 million tonnes on higher yields. Harvested area is expected to fall by 1.1%.

That figure includes a sharp decline in durum production, the wheat used to make pasta, which is expected to drop 13% from 2018 to 5.0 million tonnes. Meanwhile, Canadian spring wheat - the country's biggest crop - is expected to see output rise 7.6% to 25.8 million tonnes.

Thursday's production report comes as Canadian farmers grapple with a series of trade disputes - including an ongoing diplomatic spat with China. Beijing blocked Canadian canola seed exports this spring after authorities in Vancouver arrested a Chinese executive in December. China subsequently arrested two Canadians, whom Beijing has accused of being spies.

Last month, Statistics Canada reported in its first production forecast, based on farmer surveys, that Canadian canola output looked set to reach 18.5 million tonnes, down 9% year over year, the smallest canola crop seen in four years.

That same report also saw Canada's all-wheat numbers fall, dropping 2.9% to 31.3 million tonnes, because of a smaller harvested area. Canada's durum output was pegged at 4.4 million tonnes, the smallest since 2011. Spring wheat harvest was estimated at 25.1 million, the largest in six years. (Reporting by Kelsey Johnson; Editing by Dale Smith and Steve Orlofsky)

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