* Sees plantings of 20 mln-21 mln acres canola
* Previous estimate was 18.5 mln-19.5 mln acres
WINNIPEG, Manitoba, April 12 Canada's biggest
grain handler, Viterra Inc, said on Thursday that
Western Canadian canola plantings look to reach 20 million to 21
million acres this spring, smashing last year's record high of
18.5 million acres.
Farmers are set to expand canola's area due to the oilseed's
high price and a return to dry spring conditions after two years
of flooding that took millions of acres out of production, said
Doug Wonnacott, chief operating officer of agri-products for
"Based on what we've seen in seed bookings, it's going to be
an exceptional year," Wonnacott said in an interview with
Reuters. "Twenty to 21 million acres, that's a realistic range."
On March 8, Viterra forecast canola acres of 18.5 million to
19.5 million acres in Western Canada.
Canada is the world's leading exporter of canola, a variant
of rapeseed that is used as a vegetable oil, in making biodiesel
and feeding livestock.
Canola offers high returns to farmers, with strong demand
from exporters and crushers, and it is also lucrative for grain
companies like Viterra because of its heavy use of fertilizer.