August 14, 2008


Canada winter wheat seen average; 2008-09 acres a concern


The western Canadian winter wheat harvest is just getting underway and early signs point to an average crop, according to an official with Winter Cereals Canada.


While Canadian farmers planted more winter wheat in 2007-08, the lateness of this year's rapeseed crop may hinder plantings this fall.


Jake Davidson, executive manager of Winter Cereals Canada and a farmer in western Manitoba, said the winter wheat harvest was a little later than normal and was just getting underway in the southern regions of the Canadian Prairies. Despite the lateness, Davidson said the producers he had spoken with were generally pleased with how their crops had fared this year.


Davidson said crop conditions over the growing season were variable across the Prairies, with some areas doing better than others.


Davidson said he expected harvest progress to pick up considerably in the next week to 10 days, as many fields are "ready to go."


While this year's winter wheat harvest moves forward, Davidson said he was concerned that the lateness of other crops may limit the acres planted to winter wheat for next year.


In western Canada, producers typically seed winter wheat into rapeseed stubble in order to provide some protection over the winter months. With the rapeseed crop generally two weeks behind normal, the window for planting winter wheat will be smaller, according to Davidson.


Western Canadian farmers planted 1.360 million acres of winter wheat for harvest in 2008, according to Statistics Canada data. The area was up from 975,000 acres the previous year.

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