OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA — The second largest wheat crop in Canadian history is forecast in the 2023-24 marketing year thanks to an all-time high in planted area, according to a Global Agricultural Information Network report from the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) of the US Department of Agriculture.

The FAS report projected output at 35.8 million tonnes, second only to the 2013-14 total of 37.5 million tonnes and 6% higher than the estimated 33.8 million tonnes produced in 2022-23.

Although yields are forecast to decline slightly, it will be more than offset by a 3% increase in planted area, up to a record 10.7 million hectares, the FAS said.

The report noted that overall grain production in Canada is forecast to increase by 1% in 2023-24, due mainly to the expected large increase in wheat output. The one grain projected to see a significant decline in production is oats, because of reduced area planted in Saskatchewan. The FAS sees a 21% decline in output from 5.2 million tonnes in 2022-23 to 4 million tonnes.

“Poor returns relative to competing crops and high on-farm stocks are expected to incentivize farmers to grow competing crops such as barley, instead of oats,” the FAS said.