Skip to content

Attention turns to harvest

When the calendar turns to September farmers attention turns fully to harvest.

When the calendar turns to September farmers attention turns fully to harvest. The rest of us might be thinking about students returning to school, the pennant races in baseball, and the stretch drive in the Canadian Football League, but for agriculture harvest is paramount, the payoff period for all the work associated with planting a crop in the spring, and dealing with weeds and other problems throughout the growing season. While there were issues involved with getting this year's crop in the ground in some areas as a result of a wet 2010, and more moisture early this spring, the growing season has actually been good in most areas. The same sun and warm conditions which made it a more enjoyable July and August for all of us, meant generally good growing conditions for crops. As a result farmers are anticipating a very good crop this fall. It may not be a crop anyone is labelling 'bumper', and there is still the possibility of a frost impacting quality on later seeded costs, it should be a good fall to fill the bins. Canola, which is the golden crop these days, could be a highly profitable one for farmers based in two factors. On one hand Statistics Canada is predicting the 2011 canola crop will be a record one at 13.2 million tonnes, which would put this year's crop at about 11per cent higher than 2010, StatsCan estimated the harvested canola area at 17.8 million acre. At times talk of a record crop might put pressure on prices. If the market anticipates lots of product they can pull back in terms of what they are willing to pay. That has not been the case this year, as numbers in the United States continue to buoy prices. Canola futures actually climbed last week, along with other crops, asnew estimates coming out of the U.S., suggested the corn and soybean crops there will be lower than forecasts made a few weeks ago. The sheer size of the U.S. crop means a smaller crop there will easily offset canola numbers here, as soybeans and canola generally move in lockstep since both are part of the vegetable oil market. The softer Canadian dollar has also been kind to canola futures. As a result the November canola future contract is around $575 per tonne. Farmers have to be making a dollar at such prices, or they never will. It's also good news on the cereals side of things, with the Canadian Wheat Board optimistic of a higher quality crop if frost stays away a while longer. CWB analysts are expecting the 2011 crop to be similar in size to last year, but with better overall quality, and below the five-year average of 22.4 million tonnes for Western Canada. In 2010, Prairie farmers harvested 21 million tonnes of wheat, and it is expected this harvest will see similar numbers. Durum and barley production are both expected to be up this fall. The CWB is also suggesting cereal quality should be at least average in 2011, and average is considerably better than what occurred in 2010 when only 38 per cent of Canada Western Red Spring Wheat hitting the top two grades. On general terms 68 per cent falls into the two top grades on average. With American crop issues helping hold prices, and a higher quality crop anticipated here, farmers only need the co-operation of Mother Nature to fill their bins with a crop having values that should mean black ink for most producers.

push icon
Be the first to read breaking stories. Enable push notifications on your device. Disable anytime.
No thanks