Canadian wheat, oilseed area up

by Ron Sterk
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OTTAWA — Canadian farmers planted a record large area to canola and significantly increased plantings of other oilseeds and wheat "in response to robust crop prices" while reducing area planted to oats and feed grains and fields traditionally left as summer fallow, Statistics Canada said today in its principle field crop acreage report.

Total wheat seedings were 25,100,000 acres, down slightly from March intentions but up 16% from 21,617,000 acres a year ago and 5% above the five-year average of 23,917,000 acres, Statistics Canada said based on a survey of 26,100 growers between May 23 and June 3.

Spring wheat seedings were 16,434,000 acres, down 1% from March and 5% below the five-year average of 17,317,000 acres, but up 8% from 15,215,000 acres planted in 2007.

Durum area soared to 6,100,000 acres, up 3% from March, up 27% from 4,815,000 acres a year ago and 19% above the five-year average of 5,111,000 acres. Winter wheat seedings, at 2,566,000 acres, were down 2% from March but up 62% from a year ago and 72% above the five-year average of 1,489,000 acres.

Canola plantings totaled 15,812,000 acres, up 7% from March intentions and from a year ago, and 20% above the five-year average of 13,130,000 acres.

"Prairie farmers eclipsed the record for canola set just last year by slightly over a million acres," Statistics Canada said.

Canadian farmers planted 2,993,000 acres of soybeans, up 3% from a year ago and 4% above the five-year average. Flaxseed area totaled 1,510,000 acres, up 16% from 2007 but 14% below the 2003-07 average, Statistics Canada said.

Planted area for oats, barley and corn was down sharply from a year ago and below March intentions and five-year averages, Statistics Canada said.

Oats plantings totaled 4,382,000 acres, down 19% from 2007, off 2% from March intentions and 9% below the 2003-07 average. Barley seedings were 9,072,000 acres, down 17% from 2007, down 2% from March and 15% below the average. Corn planted for grain totaled 2,975,000 acres, down 14% from 2007 and down slightly from March and the average.

Area left idle as summer fallow was reduced 25% from a year ago, to 5,785,000 acres, which also was down 16% from March intentions and 33% below the five-year average.

"In response to robust crop prices, traditional areas dedicated to summer fallow in the Prairie provinces (Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan) have declined to record low levels in recent history," the agency said.

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