5 factors to watch in Canada’s battle of the crops

battle-of-crops

Highlights

  • Western Canada has dramatically increased pulse production at the expense of other nations
  • Russia has become one of the world’s largest wheat exporters
  • Consumer preference and trends may determine crop choice
  • Disease or frost damage increases appetite to switch to other cropping options
  • Biofuel policy approaches in Canada and US will increase demand going forward

Canola, once dubbed the Cinderella crop, is now queen of Canadian field crop production, commanding more acres and a higher value than any other grain or oilseed. How did canola surpass wheat in a nation that once prided itself on being the breadbasket of the world? (Get the full story in our special edition of AgriSuccess – celebrating 150 years of Canadian ag). And while canola has currently taken top spot, other contenders, specifically pulse crops, could be quick to steal acres.

Here are 5 factors to watch in Canada’s battle of the crops:

1.      Competitive advantage

Western Canada has dramatically increased pulse production at the expense of other nations, such as Turkey. In oats, our competitive advantage is proximity to the American marketplace.

How did canola surpass wheat in a nation that once prided itself on being the breadbasket of the world?

2.      Major political changes

Forty years ago, the former Soviet Union was the top importer of wheat. Today, Russia has become one of the world’s largest wheat exporters.

3.      Consumer preferences

When consumers decide to avoid foods with gluten, it has an impact on wheat demand. When they increase consumption of craft beers, more malting barley is needed.

4.      Crop wrecks

If producers run into major production problems such as disease or frost damage, it increases their appetite for switching to other cropping options.

5.      Biofuel policy

American ethanol production created a huge new market for corn. Policy approaches in the U.S. and Canada will influence demand going forward.

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