USDA attache to Canada predicts larger wheat crop

MarketsFarm — A new report from the Ottawa-based attache to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) has raised its estimate of total wheat production in Canada for 2019.

The report Thursday from attache Phil Hayes increases FAS’s estimate of wheat production in Canada for 2019 to 32.65 million tonnes, compared to last year’s 31.77 million.

Although the attache’s estimate was lower than USDA’s official estimate of 33.3 million tonnes, Hayes placed harvested acres at 24.34 million, as opposed to USDA’s 23.97 million.

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Hayes’ calculation was based on a 2.8 per cent increase in yields compared to last year, citing timely and favourable conditions in 2019.

Beginning stocks differed, with the attache’s estimate at 4.59 million tonnes, down from USDA’s forecast of 4.67 million.

The attache reported Canadian farmers seeded 21 per cent less durum this year compared to 2018, noting trade challenges, disease concerns and lower prices.

Durum exports to Italy fell sharply during the 2017-18 crop year, but jumped 65 per cent by the end of June 2019 to almost 590,000 tonnes.

Hayes also said winter wheat planting dropped 25 per cent, while spring wheat acres were up 14 per cent.

There was a significant gap between the attache and USDA on their respective projections for Canadian wheat ending stocks. Hayes forecast almost 4.29 million tonnes for the 2019-20 crop year, compared to the USDA’s 5.12 million.

Statistics Canada releases its next round of crop production estimates on Aug. 28.

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