National yield of selected field crops. Chart: Statistics Canada
Canadian farmers produced less wheat, canola, barley and oats in the 2021 growing season, Statistics Canada says in a Dec. 3 news release. The release says lower yields were mainly caused by drought conditions in Western Canada resulting in decreased production.
“Despite favourable spring seeding conditions across most of Canada, extremely hot and dry weather impacted crop development during the growing season in Western Canada,” the release notes.
One bright spot was that warm and dry conditions throughout the fall gave farmers the opportunity to complete harvest well ahead of the normal timeframe across most of Canada.
The November principal field crop report says due to the challenging growing conditions, several major field crops grown predominantly in Western Canada experienced their largest year-over-year yield decrease on record, falling to levels not seen in more than a decade.
National wheat production fell 38.5 per cent to 21.7 million tonnes in 2021, yields dropped 33.3 per cent to 34.8 bushels per acre and harvested area was down 7.7 per cent to 22.8 million acres. In Alberta, production was down 42.9 per cent to 6.3 million tonnes, with yield down 38.4 per cent to 34.4 bushels per acre and harvested area falling 7.5% to 6.7 million acres.
The drought caused the national canola yield to drop to its lowest level since 2007. Nationally canola production decreased by 35.4 per cent to 12.6 million tonnes. Yields fell 40.2 per cent to 25.0 bushels per acre which offset a higher harvested area of 8.2 per cent to 22.3 million acres. In Alberta, the canola yield dropped by 31.1 per cent to 27.7 bushels per acre, harvested area rose 16.3 per cent which caused a 19.9 per cent production decrease to 4.2 million tonnes.
Nationally barley production dropped 35.3 per cent to 6.9 million tonnes, harvested area rose 6.9 per cent to 7.4 million acres with yields falling 39.5 per cent to 43 bushels per acre. Oat production fell 43 per cent nationally to 2.6 million tonnes with harvested acreage falling 15.4 to 2.7 million acres and yields dropping 32.6 per cent to 61.5 bushels per acre.