Glacier FarmMedia – Statistics Canada’s latest round of expectations for the 2020 harvest calls for more corn and less soy than in 2019, with higher yields offsetting lower planted acres for both crops.
Why it matters: Yield estimates can help farmers and markets plan for the coming harvest.
In its production of principal field crops report, using information from July — based on models created using satellite technology — StatsCan on Aug. 31 called for a 13.9 million-tonne Canadian grain corn harvest in 2020, up 3.9 per cent from 2019.
Soybean production across Canada, meanwhile, is projected to slip by 1.4 per cent to six million tonnes in 2020.
The expectation for the corn crop is based on an anticipated increase in yield — 158.2 bushels per acre on average, up 7.5 per cent — against harvested area of 3.5 million acres, down 3.4 per cent.
The largest corn-growing province, Ontario, is seen producing more corn both by acres and by yield, with an average yield of 159.6 bu. per acre, up 0.8 per cent, on 2.2 million acres, up 0.3 per cent. for total yield of 8.7 million tonnes, up 1.1 per cent.
Quebec’s corn output, meanwhile, is expected to increase 8.8 per cent, to 3.7 million tonnes, based on average yields of 163.1 bu. per acre, up 15.3 per cent, on 885,000 acres, down 5.7 per cent.
Grain corn yields in Manitoba and Alberta are also expected to increase, at 1.32 million and 92,400 tonnes respectively, up from 1.19 million and 63,300 in 2019.
StatsCan’s figure for soybean production across Canada is based on a 12.6 per cent increase in yields, at 44.6 bu. per acre, but on 4.9 million acres, down 12.5 per cent.
Ontario’s soybean yield is expected to slip four per cent to 3.6 million tonnes, with yields up 4.5 per cent at 46.1 bu. per acre, and acres down eight per cent at 2.8 million.
Manitoba’s soybean output is expected to be up 2.6 per cent at 1.2 million tonnes, with yields up 27.7 per cent at 37.3 bu. per acre, but harvested acres down 19.7 per cent at 1.1 million.
Quebec is also expected to produce 1.2 million tonnes of soy, on yields of 49.7 bu. per acre, up 16.7 per cent, but with a 2.4 per cent decrease in harvested area.
StatsCan’s report didn’t include estimates of expected soybean yields in Alberta or Saskatchewan, nor of corn in Saskatchewan.
StatsCan said it moved to the satellite-based system for the July report “to alleviate stress on farmers during the COVID-19 pandemic.” The system has been used to generate StatsCan’s September yield estimates since 2016, and was used also last summer to produce Manitoba’s July estimates.
StatsCan’s Crop Condition Assessment Program suggests overall plant health in the Prairie provinces was “equal to or much better than normal for most of the region” during the period studied.
“Conversely, plant health in Eastern Canada was worse than average and has worsened considerably since early June, likely because of the lack of rain.”