Alberta Crop Report Yield Forecasts vs Final Totals

Alberta Crop Report Yield Forecasts vs Final Totals

Rejeana Gvillo

Aug 11, 2020

Alberta’s weekly crop reports sometimes include yield forecasts. The latest report included projections for canola, wheat, peas, oats and barley. This week, FBN examined the yields provided in the report and how those relate to final yields for the province. FBN compared Alberta’s crop condition report yields in late July then also in late October with Statistics Canada’s final yields. 

Background

Alberta usually produces around 30% of Canada’s canola crop, about 32% of the spring wheat crop, and half of the country’s barley crop. Some of the most productive regions in the Prairies are in Alberta even though Saskatchewan produces larger volumes of wheat and canola. The latest Alberta crop report projected yields as of July 28. For Alberta, yields were forecast to be above average. By area, the south, central and northeast areas are forecast to have above-average yields. Crop conditions are above average in general for the province and are above last year’s ratings.  

Details on Alberta’s crop reports and final yields

The report pegged spring wheat yields at 54.6 bushels per acre. That marks the highest yield reported in the crop reports issued in late July dating back to at least 2015. The spring wheat yields issued in the report typically fall shy of Statistics Canada’s final yield estimates with the report almost always adding to the yield forecast from late July to late October. If this year falls in line with history, we will see a higher yield forecast in a late October report and then a jump in the final yield for Alberta from Statistics Canada. 

Canola yields were forecast at 40.4 bushels per acre, which was in line with last year’s final yield. Unfortunately, there is not as clear of a pattern for canola yield changes as for wheat. In 2015, we were facing dry conditions, which may have been part of the reasoning for the large shifts in yield forecasts. Since that crop year, the changes for yields have generally been smaller across the time period examined. That would lean toward a final canola yield in Alberta being around 40 bushels per acre. 

Similar to wheat, final barley yields typically end up larger for Alberta versus the crop report projections. In the previous five years, that has been the case. Further, barley yields issued in the weekly reports usually increase from the late-July report to the late-October report. Based on history, expect final barley yields to be larger than this initial forecast and expect the yield forecast issued in the crop progress reports to increase in the coming months.

FBN's take on what this means for the farmer

The Alberta crop report yields do give us some clues as to what final yields could be. For spring wheat and barley, there is risk that the final yields for the province come in larger than what was issued in the latest report as well as what will be issued in late October. Canola is more of a mixed bag. Regardless, the report showed high yields versus initial forecasts in previous years. This keeps the price outlook for barley unattractive from a supply side and brings in some additional risk for spring wheat futures.  

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Rejeana Gvillo

Aug 11, 2020