Canada crop tour sees smaller canola crop after reduced plantings, dry spring

FILE PHOTO: Western Canadian canola fields are seen in full bloom before they will be harvested later this summer in rural Alberta, Canada July 23, 2019. REUTERS/Todd Korol/File Photo

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) - Canadian farmers are likely to reap a smaller canola crop in 2019-20 due to reduced plantings and dry conditions, consultancy FarmLink Marketing Solutions said on Thursday after a crop tour of the prairie provinces.

The Grain World tour on Tuesday and Wednesday, organized by FarmLink, visited fields in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba to observe conditions and calculate yield estimates.

Dry conditions parched soils across much of the Canadian Prairies for three years, raising fears about this year’s crops surviving, until rains fell in June and July.

“To kill the crop, you need persistent drought. The early season drought may have cut the top end off yield, but crops can recover,” according to FarmLink’s presentation in Regina, Saskatchewan.

FarmLink estimated an average Canadian canola yield of 39.9 bushels per acre in 2019-20, up slightly from 39.8 bushels a year earlier. The crop may produce 19 million tonnes, down from 20.3 million a year ago, after farmers planted less.

Crops looked above average in Saskatchewan, Canada’s main crop-producing province, and more variable in Manitoba and Alberta, FarmLink said. Canola crops, many of which were planted late, are at risk of damage from an early season frost, the company said.

ICE Canada November canola futures RSX9 dropped 0.6%.

The crop tour estimated an average Canadian wheat yield, excluding durum, of 52.1 bushels per acre, the same as last year.

Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg, Manitoba; editing by Chris Reese and Richard Chang