The agriculture media widely publicized the results of the April 24 Statistics Canada acreage report for 2012 and acreage increases are anticipated for the big crops like canola, wheat and barley. My focus today involves a quick and dirty review of the smaller special crops.
Canadian producers intend to flock back to dry peas and flax this year, but pare back modestly on lentil plantings. Following is Statistics Canada's 2012 estimates of principal field crop area report. The figures are as of March 31, 2012, in thousands of acres. Source: Statistics Canada.
CANADA Canada CANADA
2012 2012 2011
24-Apr PFCanada Dec
Flaxseed 1,040 1,000 695
Sunflower (MB) 60 35
Dry Peas 3,310 3,250 2,328
White/Color Beans (MB/ON) 245 145
Lentils (SK, AB) 2,460 2,250 2,570
Mustard (SK) 230 265
Canary (SK) 275 235
Chickpea (SK) 265 105
Lentils were the only major crop in the StatsCan report where acreage intentions were down on the year. The agency pegs the crop at 2.46 million acres, down just 110,000 acres from last year. StatsCan did not give a red/green breakdown, but implies heightened grower interest relative to last year in planting greens.
The StatsCan estimate still implies a large lentil acreage base, which in turn probably further delays price recovery in this well-supplied Canadian market. Absent a production or quality threat for either North America or India’s khariff cycle (summer crop) production, the green lentil market will likely remain stagnant.
StatsCan forecast 2012 dry pea planted area will jump 42.2 per cent to 3.31 million acres. I think this is about in line with trade expectations, but well up from 2.3 million acres last year. There was no indication in this report of yellows versus greens. I suspect the overall pea acreage number could yet expand by another 100,000 to 200,000 acres.
As far as market influence, I don’t suspect Canadian pea acreage will be high enough to adversely affect price prospects. However, larger acreage along with timely seeding likely means users will not aggressively pursue securing inventory right away.
Canadian flaxseed area is estimated at 1.04 million acres, up almost 50 per cent from the 695,000 acres seeded a year ago, but in line with PFCanada expectations.
No market influence here. Old crop supplies are extraordinarily tight, so there's little room for new crop production threats given the lack of supply cushion. However, demand also remains slow from Europe, at least until the Former Soviet Union supplies are drawn down. And there are recent indications of Former Soviet Union supplies dwindling, given tightening price spreads between Canada and landed Europe valuation.
In Saskatchewan, producers intend to cut back on mustard, but increase plantings of canaryseed and chickpeas.
Mustard area in the province is pegged at 230,000 acres, down 35,000 acres from 2011. Here again, no breakdown of mustard classes, but the overall number is considered small relative to historical numbers. This is likely to result in a trend towards tightening inventory for the year ahead, especially if yields come in below average. Decent carry-in of 80,000 tonnes or so and a 125,000 tonne 2012 crop can allow the supply/demand to squeeze by -- but there's no wiggle room.
Canaryseed plantings are estimated at 275,000, up 40,000 acres from last year. But given already tight old crop stocks, 2012 acres seem short. Unless demand is curtailed and/or old crop supplies are still being understated as some in the trade suspect, supplies of canary for the year ahead appear very tight again.
On the surface, there is enough of an acreage (and production shortfall) here to suggest the need for the market to buy acreage through some price incentive. But do users care enough to take action at this time?
Dry bean planted area is set to rebound in both Ontario and Manitoba this year. StatsCan predicts 2012 Ontario dry bean area at 100,000 acres, up 17.6 per cent from a year ago, but still below the nearly 140,000 acres planted in 2010. Manitoba dry bean area is expected to see a major increase, more than doubling to 145,000 acres from the 60,000 planted in 2011, and exceeding the 135,000 acres seeded in 2010.
American dry bean producers are also expected to increase plantings in 2012, with total intended U.S. dry bean area at 1.67 million acres, up 38 per cent from a year ago, although 13 per cent below 2010.
Mike Jubinville of Pro Farmer Canada offers information on commodity markets and marketing strategies. Call 204-654-4290 or visit www.pfcanada.com to find out more about his services.