Canadian Wheat Board Cuts Crop Estimates

The Canadian Wheat Board project a western Canadian wheat, durum and barley crop of 29.7 million tonnes in the 2009 crop year, down almost 20 per cent from last year’s 36.7 million tonnes and significantly below the five-year average of 33.9 million tonnes. The all-wheat yield estimate announced by the CWB yesterday, at 33.4 bushels per acre, is the lowest initial projection in seven years.

“Cold weather across the Prairies this spring has had a detrimental effect on planting and early crop development in most growing regions,” said Bruce Burnett, CWB director of weather and market analysis. “In addition, soil moisture levels are dangerously low in parts of Alberta and western Saskatchewan, where dry conditions have persisted since last fall.”

Alberta is experiencing the driest conditions since 2001. Subsoil moisture in the province had deteriorated to 38% poor, 42% fair, 19% good and 1% excellent, as of June 4th, according to the Alberta crop lettter.

While the western Prairies are abnormally dry, Manitoba has been excessively wet this spring, with seeding still incomplete. Without ideal growing conditions for the remainder of the crop year, below-average production is likely for Western Canada, Burnett said.

Wheat, durum and barley crops are currently about 10 days to two weeks behind normal development due to the cold weather. Production estimates have dropped significantly in the past two weeks from what had been average yield expectations. “As cool weather delays crop emergence, the risk of reduced quality or frost damage this fall increases,” he added.

The CWB peg 2009/10 non-durum wheat production 18% lower at 16.4 MMT, durum wheat output is seen 20% down at 4.4 MMT, and barley output declining 20.5% to 8.9 MMT.

Note, these numbers are for western Canadian production, a small amount of wheat also comes out of the east (around 3.1 MMT in 2008).

Similar problems are also afflicting Canadian canola production this year, see StormX's latest report on that here: Canada Canola Production Threatened By Western Prairie Drought