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Crop-production drop expected

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Farmers expect to see a large increase in sunflower-seed production this year.

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Farmers expect to see a large increase in sunflower-seed production this year. Photo Store

Manitoba farmers expect to harvest about the same amount of soybeans as last year, but less of almost everything else, the latest farmer survey by Statistics Canada reports.

The survey of 1,580 Manitoba farmers between July 23 and Aug. 4 found while they expect soybean yields to be down 14.6 per cent to 32.1 bushels per acre this year, the number of acres to be harvested should be up by 17.7 per cent to 1.2 million.

"Consequently, soybean production could reach a level similar to the 2013 record of 1.1 million tonnes," the agency said Thursday.

However, with five of the other six crops covered in the survey -- canola, spring wheat, corn for grain, oats and barley -- farmers expect production declines of anywhere from 24 per cent to 41.4 per cent.

That includes an anticipated 27.2 per cent decline for canola, a 33.2 per cent drop for spring wheat, a 38.4 per cent decline for corn for grain, a 24 per cent reduction for oats and a 41.4 per cent drop for barley.

In most cases, the production declines are being blamed on a combination of lower anticipated yields and fewer acres being harvested.

The only crop local farmers think they'll see an increase in production -- a whopping 50.7 per cent -- is sunflower seeds.

And that's due to more than three times as many acres likely to be harvested this year -- 95,000 versus 27,000 in 2013 -- and an expected 7.9 per cent increase in yields, the agency added.

Nationally, Statistics Canada said Canadian farmers expect production to return to more normal levels for wheat, canola and corn for grain after hitting record levels in 2013.

"At the time of the survey, farmers on the Prairies reported excessive rains in late June were likely to affect harvestable area," the agency said.

However, soybean production is expected to climb to another record level -- 5.9 million tonnes versus 5.2 million in 2013 -- due to almost a million more acres of the crop being planted this year, it added.

This year's crop-production estimates will be updated again Oct. 3, Statistics Canada said, with the final numbers to be published on Dec. 4.

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 22, 2014 B9

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Updated on Friday, August 22, 2014 at 9:30 AM CDT: Replaces photo

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