Canada to plant more rapeseed, less soybean despite trade tension

15 Mar 2019 | Andy Allan

Canadian farmers are expected to plant 1% more rapeseed in the next marketing year, according to the USDA, despite being in dispute with its biggest buyer – China.

The planted area is expected to rise from 9.12 million acres to 9.3 million acres, with production increasing to 20.5 million mt in the 2019/20 marketing year versus 20.3 million mt in the previous marketing year.

“[We] expect the canola area planted to climb 1% in MY 2019/20, on sustained profitability relative to alternative crops in spite of a volatile oilseed trade outlook,” the USDA said.

Canada is locked in a diplomatic dispute with China over the arrest of a Chinese telecoms executive – a spat that has escalated and seen the government ban Canadian rapeseed exporter Richardson International from selling the oilseed in China.

Nevertheless, the USDA expects exports to reach 10.55 million mt in the current marketing year and 11.1 million mt next year.


In terms of soybeans, production is expected to decline for the second successive marketing year, with output to fall to 7 million mt in the next marketing year from 7.3 million mt in the current marketing year.

Lower production is due to a function of lower planted area and will have an impact on imports, which are expected to fall to 4.78 million mt in the 2019/20 marketing year to 5.3 million mt in the 2018/19 period.

“Industry sources suggested that area planted to soybean across the prairies could continue to fall in 2019, especially in Saskatchewan, as farmers revert to spring wheat, barley, canola and to some extent pulses,” the USDA said.

News of a smaller soybean crop comes as the country’s exports to China have surged more than 230% in the past year, as Chinese buyers sought to diversify away from US sellers after the government placed a 25% additional import tax on US beans.

Canadian exports to China from August 2018 through January 2019 totalled 4.45 million mt, up from 1.35 million mt in the previous corresponding period.