(Adds analyst’s comments on wheat, graphic, other crop estimates)
By Rod Nickel and Alex Paterson
WINNIPEG, Manitoba/OTTAWA, Dec 4 (Reuters) - Canada produced more wheat and canola than expected this year, but not as much as in the record year of 2013, according to Statistics Canada’s final crop production report for 2014.
Statscan pegged the all-wheat crop in the world’s third-largest wheat exporter at 29.28 million tonnes, up 6.5 percent from its October estimate of 27.5 million tonnes and above the average trade expectation of 27.8 million tonnes.
Canola production reached 15.56 million tonnes, the second-biggest crop ever in the world’s top exporter. The harvest was 10.5 percent larger than Statscan’s previous estimate, and 1 million tonnes bigger than the average trade forecast.
“That’s a shocker,” said Ken Ball, commodities broker at PI Financial Corp. “That’s a game-changer right there” for canola.
Canola will find ample demand from exporters and domestic crushers, but supplies now look “reasonably comfy” through the 2014/15 season, Ball said. One Western Canada crushing plant, owned by Louis Dreyfus Corp, has been shut since Oct. 24 after an explosion and fire.
ICE Canada January canola futures eased 0.4 percent in early trade.
The wheat harvest came in more than 1 million tonnes larger than the highest trade estimate, signaling that late-season cool and wet weather didn’t hamper yield as much as it may have affected quality. High-quality durum is seen in especially short supply.
On the global balance sheet, the additional Canadian wheat output offsets a recent cut by Australia’s official commodity forecaster to that country’s estimated wheat harvest, said Dave Reimann, market analyst at Cargill Ltd’s grain marketing services division.
The International Grains Council cut its world wheat crop estimate last week by 1 million tonnes to a still-record 717 million.
Minneapolis March spring wheat futures dipped 1.5 percent.
Durum and oat production was bigger than expected at 5.2 million tonnes and 2.9 million respectively. Barley output was slightly smaller than expected at 7.1 million tonnes.
Higher than expected production of Canada’s two biggest crops comes as the federal government aims to avoid a repeat of last winter’s backlog in moving crops to buyers.
On Saturday, the government extended weekly grain volume minimums for railways. (Editing by Chizu Nomiyama; and Peter Galloway)