OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA — An increase in total harvested wheat area in Canada more than offset lower yields due to difficult harvest conditions, leading to a projected production increase in 2018-19, according to a Nov. 5 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Harvested area is projected to increase from 8.9 million hectares in 2017-18 to 9.8 million this year, the USDA said. Average wheat yield is forecast to drop from 3.4 tonnes per hectare to 3.1 tonnes, according to the report.

Thanks to the increased wheat plantings, the USDA forecast production in 2018-19 at 31 million tonnes, up from 29.9 million a year ago.

Durum is seen to have the largest increase in production of all wheat, rising by 750,000 tonnes in 2018-19.

“Industry sources indicate the 2018 durum quality to be excellent relative to the spring wheat crop, given that a lot of the durum is located in the southern half of the prairies,” the USDA said. “Earlier maturation facilitated the majority of harvesting prior to the poor October weather. The Southern regions of Alberta avoided much of the rain and snow that delayed harvest further north in late September and early October.”

The same is true of barley, which is forecast to have lower yields but increased harvest area for a rise in production to 8.2 million tonnes from 7.8 million a year ago.

“Just over 2 million tonnes of Canadian barley production is expected to be used for malting (for domestic use and export), while the remainder, much of which will be malting quality, is expected to be used as feed,” the USDA said.