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Canadian producers will harvest their largest-ever canola crop this year, according to Statistics Canada in its report on production of principal field crops issued last week. Production of all principal crops in Canada was forecast to increase from 2011 with the exceptions of oats, which was forecast to see a slim decline. The estimates were based on a producer survey conducted from July 25-Aug. 1.

Statistics Canada forecast 2012 Canadian canola production at a record 15,409,500 tonnes, up 9% from 14,164,500 tonnes in 2011, which was the previous record. The production forecast was trimmed slightly from the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada July projection of 15.7 million tonnes. Producers seeded a record-large area to canola in the spring because of high prices compared with alternative crops and nearly ideal seeding conditions. Canola surpassed non-durum wheat as the largest seeded crop in Canada. Most of the increase in planted area was in Saskatchewan, where a significant area went unplanted last year because of excessively wet conditions. Soybean production was forecast at a record 4,405,000 tonnes, up 3.7% from 4,246,000 tonnes in 2011 and compared with the previous record outturn of 4,345,000 tonnes in 2010. As with canola, soybean plantings set a new record in 2012 because of strong prices and favorable weather and soil conditions.

Canadian wheat production was forecast at 27,012,900 tonnes, up 7% from 25,261,400 tonnes in 2011, including spring wheat at 19,058,400 tonnes, up 6% from 18,031,300 tonnes a year ago, durum at 4,272,800 tonnes, up 2% from 4,172,100 tonnes, and winter wheat at 3,681,700 tonnes, up 20% from 3,058,000 tonnes.

“The increase is anticipated despite a decline in average yield from 42.1 bus per acre in 2011 to 41.5 bus per acre in 2012,” Statistics Canada said of the wheat crop in the three Prairie provinces. “The decline in yield would be offset by an 11.4% increase in harvested area to slightly under 22 million acres.”
Oats production was forecast at 2,994,100 tonnes, down 3,000 tonnes from 2,997,100 tonnes in 2011.