CWB points to dif­fer­ences in wheat acreage de­bate

The Southwest Booster - - OPINION -

Ed­i­tor: Would wheat acreage in West­ern Canada re­ally soar if there were an open mar­ket for Prairie wheat? The West­ern Cana­dian Wheat Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion (WCWGA) says so, and points to On­tario as ev­i­dence.

In fact, the gen­eral up­ward trend in On­tario’s wheat acreage be­gan decades be­fore the end of On­tario’s sin­gle desk for wheat in 2003. If an On­tario farmer chooses to plant wheat, it likely has more to do with the price of corn, the price of fer­til­izer, and fall plant­ing con­di­tions. The WCWGA com­pares On­tario’s 2002 har­vested wheat acreage to that of 2008 and at­tributes the in­crease to an open mar­ket. How­ever, seeded acres are ob­vi­ously a bet­ter in­di­ca­tion of farm­ers’ in­ten­tions. The last time On­tario farm­ers sowed wheat in a sin­gle-desk en­vi­ron­ment was the fall of 2002, when they seeded one mil­lion acres to wheat. In 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008, they seeded sig­nif­i­cantly fewer acres to wheat. Was this also be­cause of the demise of the sin­gle desk?

The truth is that fun­da­men­tally dif­fer­ent mar­ket fac­tors make it hard to com­pare wheat pro­duc­tion in On­tario and on the Prairies in any mean­ing­ful way. On­tario grows more soft wheat; the Prairies grow more hard wheat. On­tario wheat is sold close to home; Prairie wheat is sold around the world. If the WCWGA is in­ter­ested in a valid com­par­i­son of wheat acreage trends, it should look to the U.S. north­ern tier states where farmer de­ci­sions are mo­ti­vated by sim­i­lar mar­ket fac­tors. For the past decade, wheat acreage in the north­ern tier states has moved in uni­son with wheat acreage in West­ern Canada. Larry Hill - Chair, CWB board of direc­tors

Swift Cur­rent

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