Tight global wheat supplies could get a needed boost as Canadian farmers are expected to sharply increase acreage for spring planting. A robust crop in Canada, the world’s biggest producer of spring wheat, would help alleviate worldwide shortages sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Acreage for the spring wheat crop, which makes up the bulk of Canada’s total wheat production, is forecast to increase by 6.7% year over year to 7.1 million hectares, Statistics Canada projects. The expansion will lift Canada’s total wheat area to its highest level in nine years.
Severe drought last year caused Canadian spring wheat production to plunge 38%, which helped lead to today’s tightness in global wheat supplies. Currently, Gro’s Drought Index weighted for wheat-growing regions in Canada shows conditions are significantly less dry than last year in Canada’s wheat-growing areas, although soil moisture levels are about on par with last year.
Soaring wheat prices worldwide are likely behind the increased wheat acreage, which is edging out other crops such as barley and dry peas. Canola planted area also is expected to decline, despite high oilseed prices, as farmers favor cereal crops. Oat acres are projected to increase 18%, and corn, lentils, and soybean acreage also will expand.
In the US, spring wheat planting is getting off to a slow start as unseasonal storms blanket the northern Plains with snow. However, the snowfall has helped alleviate the region’s dry conditions. Similar to Canada, last year’s US spring wheat production slumped 44% because of drought.
The US winter wheat crop has emerged from dormancy amid dry conditions in the southern Plains. Crop conditions, measured by good-excellent winter wheat ratings, are the worst for this time of the season in 26 years, and Gro’s machine-learning US Hard Red Winter Wheat Yield Forecast Model continues to sink due to hot and dry conditions.