Author: 800 CHAB News

The CWB has released its preliminary crop forecasts, projecting a western Canadian wheat and durum crop of 23.6 million tonnes for the 2006-07 crop year, significantly higher than the five-year average of 20.7 million tonnes. The projection for the 2006-07 barley crop is 10.5 million tonnes, only slightly above the five-year average of 10.3 million tonnes.

"This is a promising beginning for the 2006 crop in Western Canada," said Bruce Burnett, Director of Weather and Crop Surveillance, who spoke at the CWB's annual weather and crop conditions industry briefing today. "Conditions are good to excellent in areas where farmers were able to plant a timely fashion."

"Northeastern Saskatchewan is the unfortunate exception. Excessive moisture there has taken more than one million acres of out of production."

Recent problems in northeastern Saskatchewan can be traced to last fall, when it was so wet that some crop was never harvested. Near-record precipitation over the winter and heavy rainfall during the month of May have left many farmers in the region unable to plant.

At the briefing, the CWB's weather and crop surveillance experts Burnett, Guy Ash and Wes Petkau also provided an overview of the international situation. Overall, the CWB is projecting world wheat production levels to decrease from 621.9 million tonnes in 2005-06 to 601.3 million tonnes in 2006-07, a drop of twenty million tonnes.

Devastating drought through the southern and central plains of the United States has resulted in the smallest red winter wheat production since 2002. Although corn development has been reasonably good so far during this growing season, dryness in the western areas of the U.S. corn belt is beginning to cause concern there.

For the second straight year in Australia, a late break in seasonal dryness is expected to allow farmers a chance to plant most of their intended acreage in 2006.

North Africa , which is an important market for western Canadian durum, has bounced back from last year's drought. Well-timed rains throughout the region during April have boosted production levels to near long-term averages.

The Web cast of the weather and crop conditions briefing will be available on the CWB Web site, www.cwb.ca, for 90 days.