OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA — Canadian farmers in 2011 intend to increase durum seedings by 60% from a year ago and plan to plant a record large area to canola while also increasing area for spring wheat, oats, barley, flaxseed, corn and soybeans, Statistics Canada said in its April 26 release of March Intentions of Principal Field Crop Areas report.

Most of the 2011 added area will come from summer fallow, which was forecast at 5,080,000 acres, down 6,530,000 acres, or 56%, from 2010. The only indicated decrease in planted area was a total of 710,000 acres for fall rye and dry peas.

Durum plantings were expected to be 5,050,000 acres, up 1,900,000 acres, or 60%, from 3,150,000 acres a year ago.

Intended seedings of spring wheat other than durum were 17,983,500 acres, up 1,508,100 acres, or 9%, from 16,475,400 acres in 2010. Seedings of winter wheat in 2010 intended for harvest in 2011 were 1,690,400 acres, up 251,000 acres, or 17%, from the previous year.

Farmers indicated they intend to plant 24,723,800 acres to all wheat this year, up 3,659,000 acres, or 17%, from 21,064,800 acres last year, Statistics Canada said.

“Over the past decade, durum area has fluctuated considerably, from 6.5 million acres to a low of 3.2 million acres in 2010,” Statistics Canada said. “In Saskatchewan, where the majority of Canadian durum is grown, farmers may seed 4.4 million acres, up 57%, or 1.6 million acres. Alberta farmers expect to plant 670,000 acres, an increase of 86.1% over the 2010 seeded area.”

Canola planting intentions were estimated at a record 19,224,700 acres, up 2,406,300 acres, or 14%, from the previous record planting of 16,818,400 acres in 2010. Seeded area in top-producing Saskatchewan was expected to be a record 9.8 million acres, up 26% from 2010. Alberta plantings were forecast at a record 5.9 million acres, up 8%.

“Early indications are that Canadian farmers may seed a record area 19.2 million acres of canola in 2011,” Statistics Canada said. “This would be the fifth consecutive annual increase in canola area at the national level.”

Intended plantings of oats were 4,056,100 acres, up 1,143,300 acres, or 39%, from 2,912,800 acres in 2010. Canada is the major source of milling quality oats for the U.S. and other export markets and is coming off a year of poor quality in the 2010 oats crop.

Soybean planted area was expected to be 3,757,100 acres, up 92,200 acres, or 2.5%, from 2010. Flaxseed planting intentions were 1,210,000 acres, up 285,000 acres, or 31%, from last year.

Barley planting intentions were 7,833,300 acres, up 922,600 acres, or 13%, from 2010. Corn area was expected to total 3,211,400 acres, up 211,100 acres, or 7%, from 2010.

Intended area for fall planted rye was 225,000 acres, down 2% from 2010, and for dry peas was 2,745,000 acres, down 20%, from a year ago.

Planting intentions data were gathered from a sample of 12,600 Canadian farmers from March 24-31.

“Subsequent to survey data collection, farmers may modify their plans prior to planting time as a result of environmental conditions,” Statistics Canada said.

Planting in some areas has yet to begin and was expected to start as much as three weeks later than normal due to cool, wet weather and flooding, according to Canadian trade sources.