What are our commonwealth cousins planting?

Grain | 28th April 2021 | By Andrew Whitelaw

The Snapshot

  • Statistics Canada have released their planting intentions for the coming season.
  • Canola acreage was up, but not by as much as most expectations.
  • The meagre increase in the area doesn’t isn’t necessarily rational based on price signals, but it does remain dry.
  • Canada has been trading improved volumes of barley into China, and their acreage has risen.
  • There are often big differences in Canada between planting intentions and harvested area.
  • It is likely based on past experience that the area will drop, especially if poor conditions persist.

The Detail

Our commonwealth cousins in Canada are at the start of their seeding phase, and their national statistics agency has released their updated planting intentions. Last week we spoke about the state of canola in ‘Canada poutine on the fireworks’. In this article, we will go through the state of all the major crops.

Statistics Canada produce the seeding intentions based on grower surveys. Whilst this information is important, and the best we will get, there are question marks around grower surveys. Do growers respond honestly, or do they talk their acreages down?

With that being said, let’s jump into it.

The big one we are concerned with is the canola acreage, as Canada has a huge influence on the global trade, and the area they plant will impact our pricing. Canola acreage is up 300kha year on year, or 3.6%.

This is lower than most analyst expectations (6-8% higher). Many analysts expected that area planted to canola would be massively up due to the price signals—a move we see in Australia.

That being said, conditions are dry, and that may have discouraged a few growers, or was it growers holding back their numbers from the stats man.

Year on year changes:

  • Barley +425kha or +14%
  • Canola +300kha or +3.6%
  • Lentils –6kha or -0.35%
  • Peas -168kha or -10%
  • Wheat -686kha or -7%

Wheat is on the chopping board of the Canadian farmer, with a fall of 6.9%, the largest year on year decline since 2014.

Barley, on the other hand, has seen an increase of 14%, year on year. The area set to go into barley is the highest since 2009. This is at a time when with Australia locked out of China, Canada is winning volume into our old customer.

Will it change?

Anyone with an ounce of knowledge of cropping would know that events can transpire, which cause us not to harvest a paddock.

What is seeding, or more appropriately in this case intended to be planted, will change by the time harvest rolls around. There will be hectares lost.

The chart below shows the percentage change between the intended planted figures, and the actual harvested number (according to Statcan) from 2010 to the 2020 harvest.

As we can see in the chart, there are regularly very large hectare losses. The story of Canadian seeding is not over yet; whilst there have been swings in barley and canola, we could feasibly see abandonment – especially if a dry season persists.


  • Canada
  • Wheat
  • Barley
  • Canola