Quality of western Canadian canola 2012

Weather and production review

Weather review

Extreme and variable were the two terms that could characterize the 2012 growing season weather conditions.

Winter was mild with low snow precipitation in the prairies; this seemed to be a good start for early seeding. Early April 2012 was also characterized by warm and dry weather conditions, allowing some producers to start seeding.

Cold weather and rain at the end of April halted seeding.  As in 2011, May and June were characterized by excessive moisture with cooler than normal temperatures (Figures 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, and 3c). Early seeded of took time to germinate, and in some cases it had to be reseeded. Early July showed a drastic change in weather conditions (Figure 2a and 2b). Early July was the start of dry and hot weather conditions that prevailed until the end of the growing season in the whole Canada and especially the prairies, except some areas in northern Saskatchewan and north-western Manitoba where heavy precipitation resulted in some ponding (Figure 3a, 3b, 3c). The hot and dry growing conditions continued well into September.  Daily minimum temperatures in July 2012 were significantly higher than the daily minimum tem par tu res observed July 2011. Overall, seeding was finished approximately 2 weeks earlier than normal (around the first week of June). Contrary to last year there were no unseeded areas due localized flooding from excessive moisture.

July-August weather conditions allowed the 2012 canola crop to mature rapidly and resulted in an early harvest.  Canola started to be harvest as early as end of July in some parts of Manitoba and by August 20th canola harvest was completed in the eastern and interlake regions of Manitoba.  Strong winds in some areas of Manitoba and Saskatchewan during swathing let to significant losses (e.g. shattering and scattering of the crop).  Canola harvest was complete in the Prairies by the last week of September, about 2-3 weeks earlier than normal.

Weather maps for the whole growing season can be found on the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada web site.

Figure 2a –Map – Monthly mean temperature difference from normal (National) in Canada during June 2012 growing season. Source: Statistics Canada
Details in paragraph above.
Figure 2b –Map – Monthly mean temperature difference from normal (National) in Canada during July 2012 growing season. Source: Statistics Canada
Details in paragraph above.
Figure 3a - Map - Precipitation - departure from average precipitation (May 2nd to 31st, 2012 – 30 days rolling, static, National) - 2012 growing season. Source: Statistics Canada
Details in paragraph above.
Figure 3b - Map - Precipitation - departure from average precipitation (May 27th to June 25th, 2012 – 25 days rolling, static, National) - 2012 growing season. Source: Statistics Canada
Details in paragraph above.
Figure 3c - Map - Precipitation - departure from average precipitation (July 29th, to August 27th, 2012 – 27 days rolling, static, National) - 2012 growing season. Source: Statistics Canada
Details in paragraph above.

Production

Western Canadian farmers planted over 8.6 million hectares of canola in 2012 well over last year’s area (Table 2). Statistics Canada’s reported that the 2012 western Canada mean yield of 1,500 kg/ha was lower than the record yields reported in 2011 (1,900 kg/ha). This yield is below the 5-year mean of 1,840 kg/ha. The 2012 production (13.22 million metric tonnes) was below 2011 record production of 14.50 million metric tonnes of canola, well above the 5 year average production (10.76 million tonnes).

According to Statistics Canada’s estimates of provincial production, Manitoba (MB), Saskatchewan (SK), and Alberta/British Columbia (AB/BC) accounted for 12.0, 50.7 and 37.3% respectively of the total canola production. The 2012 observed yields were much lower in all the western provinces (Manitoba: 1,500 kg/ha, Saskatchewan: 1,400 kg/ha and or Alberta: 1,900 kg/ha) than the yields observed in the last two years (Western Canada average 1,900 kg/ha).

High precipitations and cold temperature in May and June followed by high temperatures with low precipitations from July to September in most of the prairies were in 2012 reponsible of the low canola yields.  Disease pressure was very high (e.g. sclerotinia and aster yellow) futher decreasing the yield of already heat stressed plants.  Moreover, strong winds at harvest in some areas also decreased the amount of harvest seed (yield).

For all production data please consult Statistics Canada’s website

Seeded area and production for western Canadian canola
  Seeded area ProductionFootnote 1 Average productionFootnote 2
thousand hectares thousand tonnes thousand tonnes
2012 2011 2012 2011 2007-2011
Manitoba 1,446.8 1,102.8 2,100.1 1,746.3 2,232.1
Saskatchewan 4,540.6 3,957.8 6,137.1 7,348.2 4,807.2
Alberta3 2,679.1 2,523.2 4,981.6 5,403.9 3,716.1
Western Canada 8,666.5 7,583.8 13,218.8 14,498.4 10,755.4

Footnotes

Footnote 1

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 001-0010 - Estimated areas, yield, production and average farm price of principal field crops, in metric units, annual.

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Footnote 2

Source: Field Crop Reporting Series, revised final estimates for 2007-2011.

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Footnote 3

Includes the part of the Peace River area that is in British Columbia.

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