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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Principal field crops

June 2006 (preliminary) Previous release

Prairie farmers have planted considerably more spring wheat and canola than they had anticipated in March, according to data from the annual June farm survey, which also indicate a record area for dry field peas.

Data from the June survey, Statistics Canada's largest area survey, comprising 29,600 farmers, revealed some important changes from the March Intentions Survey results released three months earlier, when many farmers were not sure what they were going to plant.

Two of the most substantial changes were in spring wheat and canola. Farmers reported they had planted 13.3 million acres in canola by June, up from an original estimate of 11.5 million acres. This put the estimate for canola just shy of 13.4 million acres in 2005.

Spring wheat acreage also rose from the estimate set in March. Farmers reported planting 20.0 million acres compared with the March estimate of 19.5 million acres.

These increases appear to be at the expense of the area Prairie farmers previously allotted to summer fallow.

In Ontario and Quebec, the area planted in grain corn remained relatively unchanged from intentions in March, while soybeans decreased slightly.

Across the West, seeding progress can be described as average with some problems reported due to excessively wet conditions, most notably in northeast Saskatchewan.

Generally adequate moisture conditions and the hint of improving prices, combined with escalating costs for fuel and fertilizer, provide the framework for the 2006 planting season. In response, Prairie farmers planted increased areas of spring wheat, oats and dry field peas compared with 2005.

Seeding of major grains and oilseeds
Crop 2005 March 2006 June 2006 2005 to June 2006
  thousands of acres % change
Total wheat 24,943 25,620 26,492 6.2
Spring wheat 17,905 19,843 20,424 14.1
Canola 13,570 11,597 13,392 -1.3
Barley 10,972 10,389 10,108 -7.9
Summer fallow 10,160 11,710 9,305 -8.4
Oats 4,580 5,390 5,446 18.9
Durum wheat 5,785 4,050 4,260 -26.4
Dry field peas 3,375 3,454 3,509 4.0
Soybeans 2,907 3,142 2,989 2.8
Corn for grain 2,778 2,818 2,805 1.0
Flaxseed 2,080 2,245 2,120 1.9

Oilseeds: Fractionally less canola planted but slightly more flaxseed

Farmers estimated they have planted 13.3 million acres in canola, down a marginal 0.7% from 2005. The seeded area remained unchanged in both Manitoba and Alberta. In Saskatchewan, it declined just 1.5% to 6.5 million acres. Acreage in all three areas is all well above their respective 10-year averages.

The possibility of improved canola prices appears to be the catalyst for continued above-average areas planted to canola. This was the case in spite of large stocks of canola remaining to be marketed and comparatively high input costs for this crop.

Flaxseed area was up for the second year in a row, rising 1.9% to 2.1 million acres, 40,000 acres more than the area reported in 2005. Producers in Manitoba and Saskatchewan reported increases, while Alberta farmers reported planting 10,000 acres less flaxseed.

Spring wheat area up, durum wheat down

Firming prices appear to have convinced wheat growers to shift from durum wheat and summer fallow into spring wheat. Prairie farmers reported planting 20.0 million acres of spring wheat, up 2.5 million acres from 2005. The 10-year average is 19.8 million acres.

Farmers in all three Prairie provinces reported planting more spring wheat. Those in Saskatchewan led the way, planting an additional 1.9 million acres, followed by Manitoba at 411,000 additional acres and Alberta with 237,000 additional acres.

On the other hand, farmers planted 26.4% less durum, for a total of 4.3 million acres. Lower export demand was seen as the main reason for the decline.

Durum acreage fell 25.3% in Saskatchewan and 31.0% in Alberta.

Barley area down, oat area up

Prairie farmers planted 9.4 million acres of barley, down 800,000 acres from the 10.2 million acres seeded in 2005. The area seeded to barley has been in steady decline since the recent peak in 2002 of 11.7 million acres. The 10-year average is 11.1 million acres.

Provincially, the picture is mixed. Saskatchewan and Alberta reported declines of 16.7% and 2.2% respectively from 2005. Following last year's excessive rain, farmers in Manitoba reported an 11.1% increase, returning the crop to its 10-year average of 1.2 million acres.

The area seeded to oats rose considerably on prospects of increased export demand and feed use. Oat area planted on the Prairies rose 21.9% to 4.9 million acres. The 10-year average is 4.5 million acres.

Provincially, Manitoba reported a 38.9% increase to 1.0 million acres. The area in Saskatchewan rose 25.0% to 2.5 million acres, and in Alberta, it rose 7.7% to 1.4 million acres.

Record field pea area

Field pea area on the Prairies rose to record territory of 3.5 million acres, breaking the previous mark of 3.4 million acres set in 2004.

In Saskatchewan, where over three quarters of all field peas are grown, farmers increased their plantings of field peas by 70,000 acres from 2005 to 2.8 million acres.

Manitoba farmers reported a decline of 37.5% to 75,000 acres, while Alberta reported a 18.9% increase to 660,000 acres.

Ontario and Quebec farmers planted a little more grain corn, fewer soybeans

Total grain corn acreage in Ontario and Quebec rose slightly, with the area planted to corn in Ontario at 1.6 million acres, up 2.5% from 2005. In Quebec, corn acreage fell 1.7% to 1.0 million acres.

Ontario farmers have planted 650,000 acres of genetically modified corn, which represented 40% of the provincial planted area, up from 39% in 2005. Quebec farmers planted 514,000 acres of genetically modified corn, 51% of the province's total, an increase of 7% from 2005. In Quebec, it is the second occurrence of a similar increase year to year, with the first increase being 10% between 2003 and 2004.

Overall, soybean farmers in the two provinces reported that they planted less soybean acreage this year. Ontario farmers reported 2.2 million acres, down 7.5% from 2005. Quebec farmers reported 462,100 acres, unchanged from 2005.

Genetically modified soybeans represented 925,000 acres or 43% of total soybean plantings in Ontario, unchanged from 2005. Quebec farmers planted 195,200 acres or 42% of their acreage into genetically modified soybeans, up from 41% of total plantings in 2005.

Available on CANSIM: tables 001-0004, 001-0010, 001-0017 to 001-0019.

Definitions, data sources and methods: survey number 3401.

The publication Field Crop Reporting Series: Preliminary Estimates of Principal Field Crop Areas, Canada, 2006, Vol. 85, no. 4 (22-002-XIB, free) is now available from the Our products and services page of our website. A paper version (22-002-XPB, $17/$95) is also now available.

For further information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact David Burroughs (613-951-5138;, or Dave Roeske (613-951-0572;, Agriculture Division.

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Date Modified: 2006-06-22 Important Notices