Comparative table of StatsCan data and market expectations

(million acres)

Statscan

2018

Average estimate

Lowest estimate

Highest estimate

Statscan

2017

All wheat

25.259

23.038

20.500

24.200

22.391

Durum

5.777

5.442

4.600

5.800

5.205

Canola

21.383

23.663

20.100

24.500

22.997

Oats

3.148

3.149

2.900

3.400

3.200

Barley

6.059

6.218

5.800

6.800

5.766

Corn

3.758

3.583

3.400

3.875

3.576

Soybeans

6.452

7.117

6.800

7.660

7.282

Canadian farmers expect to plant fewer acres of soybeans and canola in 2018, crops that were both at record high levels in 2017. Seeding intentions of dry peas and lentils are also expected to decline, potentially due to weaker prices and to exports falling sharply.

Meanwhile, most of the acreage not seeded to major oilseeds and pulses this spring (compared with 2017) has shifted to cereal grains, since farmers anticipate areas of wheat, barley and corn to rise in 2018.

Wheat

Nationally, farmers reported intending to seed 25.3 million acres of all varieties of wheat in 2018, up 12.8% over 2017. Seeding intentions for spring wheat indicate a 15.4% gain over 2017, to 18.2 million acres, while durum wheat acreage is expected to increase 11.0% to 5.8 million acres.

Provincially, producers in Alberta anticipate their total wheat area to increase by 9.6% from 2017 to 7.7 million acres in 2018. This gain is a result of an expected 14.7% increase in spring wheat acreage to 6.7 million acres. Conversely, less area should be seeded to durum, which is expected to decline to 951,000 acres (-12.8%).

Producers in Saskatchewan expect total wheat to rise for the first time since 2013, up 15.8% from 2017 to 13.1 million acres in 2018. This is due to a 17.2% rise in acres intended for spring wheat, to 8.1 million acres.

Farmers in Manitoba intend to plant 3.0 million acres of all varieties of wheat, up 13.1% from 2017.

Canola

Canadian farmers are expecting to seed 21.4 million acres of canola in 2018, down 7.0% from 2017.

The overall expected decrease in seeded area is the result of Saskatchewan farmers anticipating a 10.5% decrease from the record high of 12.7 million acres set in 2017, to 11.4 million acres in 2018, bringing the acreage closer to the five-year average.

Farmers in Alberta also expect lower canola acreage, down 4.0% from the record high set in 2017, to 6.7 million acres.

Meanwhile, Manitoba producers are expecting canola area to remain unchanged from 2017 at 3.2 million acres.

Soybeans

At the national level, farmers intend to seed 6.5 million acres of soybeans in 2018, down 11.4% from the record high in 2017. This is the result of declines expected in most provinces.

Producers in Manitoba are expecting a 14.4% decline to 2.0 million acres in 2018. This would be the first decrease in the province since 2007. Ontario farmers expect to seed 3.0 million acres, down 1.8% from 2017, while Quebec's acreage is expected to decline 12.3% to 863,000 acres.

Barley and oats

Canadian farmers in almost every province expect to seed more barley in 2018 (+5.1%), which would drive up acreage to 6.1 million acres nationally.

However, areas seeded to oats are expected to edge down 1.6% to 3.1 million acres. Saskatchewan farmers expect to plant 1.5 million acres (-6.7%), while Alberta producers anticipate planting 679,000 acres (-1.6%).

Corn for grain

At the national level, corn for grain acreage is anticipated to rise 5.1% from 2017 to 3.8 million acres.

In Ontario, farmers expect to plant 2.2 million acres in 2018 (+2.4%), while Quebec producers anticipate seeding 1.0 million acres (+8.1%).

Manitoba farmers expect to plant 455,000 acres of corn for grain in 2018, up 11.0% from 2017, leading to a possible record high level for the province.

Lentils and peas

Canadian farmers expect total lentil acreage to decline 8.1% from 2017, to 4.1 million acres in 2018. This would be driven by farmers in Saskatchewan, who anticipate an 8.4% decrease to 3.6 million acres.

Similarly, areas seeded to dry field peas are expected to decrease 5.5% from 2017 to 3.9 million acres, driven by Alberta farmers who anticipate a 13.1% drop to 1.6 million acres in 2018.

March intentions of principal field crop areas

2016

2017

2018

2016 to 2017

2017 to 2018

thousands of acres

% change

Total wheat (including winter wheat remaining)

23,686

22,391

25,259

-5.5

12.8

Durum wheat

6,102

5,205

5,777

-14.7

11.0

Spring wheat

15,870

15,801

18,241

-0.4

15.4

Winter wheat

1,715

1,385

1,242

-19.3

-10.3

Barley

6,676

5,766

6,059

-13.6

5.1

Canary seed

260

255

223

-1.9

-12.5

Canola

20,784

22,997

21,383

10.6

-7.0

Chick peas

143

160

346

11.9

116.4

Corn for grain

3,588

3,576

3,758

-0.4

5.1

Dry beans

302

333

246

10.4

-26.2

Dry field peas

4,282

4,093

3,868

-4.4

-5.5

Fall rye

371

260

221

-29.9

-15.1

Flaxseed

941

1,040

989

10.5

-4.9

Lentils

5,569

4,405

4,050

-20.9

-8.1

Mustard seed

510

385

438

-24.5

13.7

Oats

3,045

3,200

3,148

5.1

-1.6

Soybeans

5,607

7,282

6,452

29.9

-11.4

Summerfallow

2,133

2,200

1,921

3.1

-12.7

Sunflower seed

70

65

45

-7.1

-30.8