OTTAWA, ONTARIO, CANADA — Area seeded to canola in Canada exceeded area seeded to wheat for the first time in 2017-18, as strong canola returns continued to extend crop rotation decisions and draw area from wheat and other grains into canola, according to a March 20 Global Agricultural Information Network report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Canola production 2017-18 increased 9% to 21.3 million tonnes, the report said, noting that the increase primarily was due to increased area seeded as well as improved yields in Manitoba.

The report said all canola-growing provinces except Manitoba experienced increases in area seeded.

A production drop in canola is forecast for 2018-19 despite the increase in area seeded as yields are expected to fall based on soil moisture levels and disease pressures in key growing regions, the report said.

Canola exports in 2017-18 are forecast to grow 4% based on the strong pace of shipments to China and Japan, the report said.

Ending stocks of canola in 2017-18 are forecast at 1.6 million tonnes for a stocks-to-use ratio of 7%.

“This is still considered fairly tight, despite being up 19% over the previous crop year,” the report said. “When storage stocks drop below 1 million tonnes, as they did in 2011-12 and 2012-13, they are considered extremely tight.”