Farmers in Alberta are expected to plant more wheat and oats this year, while canola acres will fall, according to Statistics Canada’s principle field crop areas for March 2020. Overall Alberta will be following the same trends as its provincial counterparts for planting this year.
Wheat acres are expected to rise by 1.3 per cent to 7.5 million acres, the release says. Spring wheat acres are anticipated to remain relatively stable compared to last year at 6.6 million acres, while durum acres should rise by 9.9 per cent to 851,400 acres.
“The expected increase in durum is likely due to higher prices, while the increase in winter wheat area is largely attributable to favourable winter conditions which resulted in less winterkill compared with one year earlier.”
Oat acres will rise to just over one million acres due to higher prices and stronger demand for livestock feed use.
Canola acres will drop by 2.8 per cent to 5.8 million acres, following a trend which started last year after Canada saw its largest canola buyer China restrict purchases.
Pea acres are also expected to drop with Albertans planting 1.7 million acres this year.
The report notes the estimates may not be accurate as farmer surveys were completed prior to the COVID-19 pandemic and then were halted after it started, meaning less farmers were surveyed than usual.
“At this time, intended seeded area estimates cannot reflect the full impact on the crop sector as a result of COVID-19. Over time, as seeded area estimates are revised based on new data, users will be able to see a more comprehensive view of the impacts on seeding and production.”
The report also notes seeding intentions could be changed as farmers are still dealing with having to harvest last year’s crop in parts of the country.