Focus on Planting Forward Contracted Crops

by 5m Editor
8 April 2011, at 9:33am

CANADA - A weather and crop analyst with the Canadian Wheat Board expects prairie farmers to focus on getting the most profitable crops and crops that have forward contracted into the ground as they contend with delayed planting due to abundant moisture, Bruce Cochrane writes.

A combination of above average fall rain, abundant winter snowfall and a delayed spring melt in parts of the prairies, including eastern Saskatchewan, western Manitoba and the northern Interlake have hampered the ability of farmers to get on the land.

Canadian Wheat Board weather and crop analyst Stuart McMillan expects cropping decisions this spring to be driven primarily by the weather.

Stuart McMillan-Canadian Wheat Board

I think for many farmers, they have forward contracted a number of crops already.

We've certainly seen some active sign-up with some of our producer pricing options.

We're looking though, in terms of what's going to be influencing this, is not even so much I feel the markets but will be driven mostly by the weather.

Right now the forecast for April is below normal temperatures across the entirety of the Canadian prairies and so we have not seen the snowpack moving off as it normally would.

The precipitation forecast is a little mixed but, for the most part, we're going to be seeing above normal precipitation unfortunately combined with these cooler than normal temperatures.

Certainly I think farmers will continue to focus on those crops that they have forward contracted.

Oilseed values are very strong right now.

Many of the cereal prices also are enjoying quite high prices at this current moment in time and certainly we've seen some active sign-up of the usual red springs on some of the producer options that the Wheat Board offers.

I think if we see the impact of this coming through we'll start seeing a shaving off of some of the less profitable crops right now, peas, some of the other pulses, some of the smaller cereals but, I think for the most part, if farmers have forward contracted their canola, they've bought their seed, they will do everything in their power to get that canola in the ground.

Mr McMillan says 2011 promises to be an interesting year but, he acknowledges, that has become the norm in recent years.

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