A lone sunflower plant stands out in a flax field near the Brandon Hills earlier this week. (BRUCE BUMSTEAD/BRANDON SUN)
The price of canola continues to dip as Canadian producers expect a record crop buoyed by high yields.
Despite a 13 per cent decline in acres seeded in Manitoba over last year, canola production is expected to rise more than 10 per cent on the strength of higher yields, according to Statistics Canada.
Canola has trended down on the global market since early 2011. The commodity could rebound slightly following an United States Department of Agriculture report that forecast production of soybeans — one of canola’s primary rivals — to dip slightly below earlier estimates.
Still the USDA is expecting global soybean production to grow five per cent from last year to more than 281 million tons.
"The price is down right now, but we have a lot of strong canola markets around the world and vegetable oil is demand," said Bill Ross, executive manager of Manitoba Canola Growers.
Farmers are optimistic looking at the crop, Ross said, but cautioned that high winds or hail could still damage potential yields of swathed canola.
"I’m always a little hesitant to say it’s a good year because everything isn’t in the bin yet, but so far the yields are a whole lot better than last year," Ross said.
Canola crushers are also confident as many facilities have increased capacity expecting a strong harvest.
Stan Cochrane, who farms in the Assiniboine Valley near Sioux Valley Dakota Nation, said the spotty showers that hit Westman last week missed his property. He estimates that he’s about 25 per cent complete harvest.
Yields for canola are ranging between 30 to 65 bushels per acre while spring wheat reports continue to come in averaging 45 to 65 and Barley between 65 to 90, according to the Manitoba Crop Report.
"The yields have been pretty good," Cochrane said. "We’ve heard some really big numbers and we haven’t seen any of those on our farm, but it’s been above average."
Last year, a drought across the United States’ Midwest and Eastern Canada that decimated the corn crop and subsequently pushed commodity prices to record highs.
This year, it appeared the same perfect storm was brewing, but timely rains mean the USDA is now predicting record corn production. The added supply has contributed to falling prices.
"It doesn’t matter who you talk to right now, the bins are full and there are still piles of crop left to combine so you know there is going to mega bushels than the previous years," Cochrane said. "Most people are saying this is the biggest crop they’ve ever seen."
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 13, 2013