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Record Ontario winter wheat acres projected

(Resource News International) An early soybean harvest, record
high wheat prices and favourable weather conditions are expected to
result in record area being seeded to winter wheat in Ontario this
fall, according to the Ontario Wheat Producers
Marketing Board’s general manager.

“There is no doubt that a number of factors are promoting the
planting of the crop this fall,” Larry Shapton said.

Based on early indications, Shapton said it was conceivable
that 1.5 million acres would be planted to winter wheat varieties

in the fall of 2007 in the province.

The area seeded to winter wheat in Ontario last fall was just
under 500,000 acres, while the current record was achieved in the
fall of 2005 when 1.2 million acres were planted, Shapton said.
Ontario producers normally seed between 800,000 and one million
acres to winter wheat each fall.

“With what prices are doing, producers will plant as much
winter wheat as the weather will allow to be put in the ground,”
Shapton said.

Part of the jump in winter wheat acres was also being
associated with crop rotation. Shapton said the inability to seed
the crop last fall has producers wanting to get the crop back into
rotation.

“You take wheat at the price they are at today and compare it
to corn…and while the spread may have narrowed in somewhat,
wheat remains the more profitable crop once input costs are
factored in,” he said, noting that soybeans, corn and wheat were
the main staple crops of the province.

Shapton indicated that production of the crop will dictate

what is exported from the province.

“Domestic demand for winter wheat in Ontario generally tends
to average between 600,000 and 700,000 tonnes,” Shapton said.
With production in 2006-07 only totally about 800,000 tonnes,
there was not much to work with, once end-users in northern U.S.
states take their portion.

Shapton said that during a normal season, the U.S. outlets
import at least a couple of hundred thousand tonnes of winter wheat
from Ontario.

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