Canadian farmers will plant approximately 21.5 million acres of canola this spring, up nearly 750,000 acres from last year, according to Statistics Canada’s annual planting intentions report released April 27.
Canadian barley plantings will also be up sharply at more than 8.6 million acres this year compared to 7.6 million in 2020, but spring wheat plantings will be nearly 1.6 million acres lower than a year ago at 16.3 million acres.
The Statistics Canada report, released annually in late April, is based on data collected in the 2021 Field Crop Survey.
This year’s field crop survey, conducted March 1-29, involved about 11,500 farmers across the country who were asked to share information on their crop planting intentions for the coming production year.
“Canadian farmers anticipate planting less wheat in 2021 compared with a year earlier,” StatsCan said in a new release.
“The decrease is largely expected in spring wheat, which is anticipated to fall 8.8 percent to 16.3 million acres.”
The report projected a slight increase in durum acreage — up 0.3 percent to 5.7 million acres — and an 11.2 percent reduction in winter wheat acreage at 1.2 million acres.
According to Statistics Canada, the total area dedicated to all types of wheat in 2021 will likely decrease as farmers in Saskatchewan and Alberta opt instead for greater canola plantings.
To a large degree, actual canola plantings in 2021 will hinge on soil moisture conditions across the West.
Dry conditions could prompt growers to make last minute changes to their seeding plans and could result in a significant reduction in plantings of small-seeded crops such as canola, flax and mustard.
In Saskatchewan, farmers said they expect total wheat area to decrease six percent in 2021 to 12.1 million acres as a result of lower spring wheat plantings.
Saskatchewan’s durum area was expected to increase 1.1 percent to 4.7 million acres, while projected barley plantings were estimated at nearly 3.9 million acres, up more than 750,000 acres from a year ago.
Saskatchewan canola plantings were projected at approximately 11.8 million acres this year, up half a million acres from 11.3 million in 2020.
In Alberta, farmers told StatsCan they expect spring wheat plantings to fall 7.8 percent to 5.8 million acres, and durum plantings to drop 1.1 percent to one million acres.
Alberta’s canola acreage was expected to increase by nearly half a million acres to 6.3 million, while barley plantings were projected at nearly 3.95 million acres, up 300,000 acres from a year ago.
Across the Prairies, Manitoba is the only province that projected a reduction in canola plantings in 2021.
Manitoba growers said they expect to plant about 3.2 million acres of canola this spring, down from 3.4 million acres last year.
Lower canola plantings in Manitoba will be offset by increased plantings of barley, oats, corn and soybeans.
Manitoba’s soybean plantings for 2021, supported by favourable yields in 2020 and strong markets, were projected to increase 17.3 percent to 1.3 million acres.
Nationwide, barley acreage is expected to increase 13.9 percent to 8.6 million acres in 2021, prompted by strong prices and low carry-in stocks, StatsCan suggested.
Canadian oat plantings are expected to fall by six percent to 3.6 million acres because of an expected increase in global oat supplies.
Canadian lentil plantings are projected to drop marginally to 4.2 million acres.
Farmers in Saskatchewan, where almost 90 percent of Canada’s lentils are grown, expect seeded lentil area to decrease 1.6 percent, while lentil producers in Alberta projected a nine percent increase.
Across Canada, field pea acres were projected to decrease 9.8 percent to 3.8 million acres.