Canadian farmers will plant more spring wheat and less canola in 2013, said Brenda Tjaden Lepp, chief analyst with FarmLink Marketing Solutions in a presentation at the annual Wild Oats Grain World conference in Winnipeg, Feb. 25.
Factoring in relative returns, rotational issues, and what she was hearing from clients, Tjaden Lepp forecast spring wheat area in the country rising to 17.5 million, from 16.9 million in 2012. Meanwhile, canola area is expected to decline to 20 million acres, from 21.5 million the previous year.
Tjaden Lepp expected to see a shift in wheat area towards mid-grade varieties and away from the higher-protein wheat traditionally grown in the Prairies. Durum area is also expected to decline slightly, to 4.3 million acres, from 4.7 million, due to a lack of adequate price signals.
In addition to losing some area to wheat, some canola acres will also be going into oats, soybeans, and peas in 2013, said Tjaden Lepp.
However, she noted that canola acreage projections could have declined even further were it not for the relatively firm prices in recent weeks.
FarmLink was forecasting relatively steady barley acres, at about 7.5 million. However, as in wheat, Tjaden Lepp expected to see a shift away from malting barley and towards more feed.
Oats area is forecast to rise by 12 per cent, to 3.2 million, according to Tjaden Lepp.
Total pea area is forecast at 3.5 million acres, from 3.3 million in 2012, with some areas shifting out of yellow and into green varieties. Lentil area is forecast to decline to 2.3 million acres, from 2.5 million, according to Tjaden Lepp.
Special crop area is generally forecast to hold steady, or decline, as chickpeas, mustard, sunflowers, and dry beans are turning more into contracted crops, she added.