Prairie crops downgraded in latest StatsCan estimates

Corn, soybean crops upsized from previous report

A soybean crop at Headingley, Man. on Sept. 2, 2021. StatsCan’s latest estimates project drought-hit Manitoba’s soybean production to drop by 22.2 per cent from 2021, while Canada’s soybean harvest overall is expected down 7.4 per cent on the year. (Dave Bedard photo)

MarketsFarm — Drought conditions across Canada’s Prairies cut into yields throughout the region in 2021, with production of most of the major crops downgraded by Statistics Canada in updated crop estimates released Tuesday.

Using satellite imagery, the government agency now sees total canola production for the 2021-22 crop year at 12.78 million tonnes, which compares with the August estimate of 14.75 million and the year-ago level of 19.49 million.

“A lack of rain and high temperatures have negatively impacted crop growth and yield potential across much of the Prairies,” StatsCan said in its report.

Wheat production was pegged at 21.72 million tonnes, which was down by about a million tonnes from the August estimate and well below the year-ago level of 35.18 million. If realized, that would mark the smallest wheat crop in the country since 2007.

Of the wheat total, durum production was estimated at 3.55 million tonnes, down 11 per cent from August and about a million tonnes below the year-ago level.

Most of the other major Prairie-grown crops also saw downward revisions from August, with only corn and soybeans — which are primarily grown in Ontario — seeing upward revisions.

Canada’s corn crop was pegged at 14.37 million tonnes, which was up by about five per cent from both the month and year-ago levels.

Total soybean production was estimated at 5.89 million tonnes — up slightly from the August estimate of 5.82 million tonnes, but still below the 2020-21 production of 6.36 million.

The Crop Condition Assessment Program (CCAP) indicates overall plant health in Western Canada was lower to much lower than normal, having decreased considerably throughout August. This indicates the likelihood of lower than normal yields.

An assessment of Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) curves, which are a measure of plant health, indicated that in almost all parts of the Prairies, crops reached peak health well ahead of normal.

In some instances, peak NDVI occurred up to four weeks earlier, before decreasing rapidly, as a lack of moisture and high temperatures took a toll on plant health.

In Eastern Canada, the CCAP data are similar to average, as parts of Ontario and the Maritimes received higher-than-normal rainfall, while most of Quebec remains drier than average.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin reports for MarketsFarm from Winnipeg.

Table: A quick summary of Statistics Canada’s principal field crop production estimates for 2021-22. August estimate, year-ago numbers and five-year average (2016-2020) are included for comparison. Production in millions of metric tonnes. Source: Statistics Canada.

September.   . August.     . Five-year
2021-22 2021-22 2020-21.   . average
All wheat 21.715 22.948 35.183 32.544
–Durum 3.545 3.998 6.571 6.019
Oats 2.579 3.070 4.576 3.841
Barley 7.141 7.836 10.741 9.247
Canola 12.782 14.749 19.485 20.236
Corn 14.368 13.677 13.563 n/a
Peas 2.527 2.627 4.594 4.272
Lentils 1.802 1.979 2.868 2.639
Soybeans.   . 5.886 5.823 6.358 n/a

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