FarmLead: Deconstructing StatsCan crop production estimates

FarmLead: Deconstructing StatsCan crop production estimates

From their first estimate to their final one, StatsCan has underestimated the Canadian crop.

Brennan Turner

FarmLead

On Dec. 6 (Wednesday), Statistics Canada will have updated estimates for the 2017/18 Canadian crop.

By the time you read this, you’ll already know their numbers. However, what you might not know is that StatsCan has a history of upgrading their crops. From their first estimate to their final one, StatsCan has underestimated the Canadian crop a lot.

For example, the Canadian canola crop the last 4 years has been underestimated by an average of 3.2 million tonnes. This means that from their first estimate to the final number, for the past four production years, the Canadian canola crop grows by an average of 24 per cent. The first estimate for this year’s Canadian canola crop was 18.2 million tonnes. Thus, if we’re using the average margin for error for the past four years (plus 24 per cent), this means that the 2017 Canadian canola crop should end up at 22.5 million tonnes.

For spring wheat, StatsCan has underestimated Canadian output by an average of 1.75 million tonnes. This means that from their first estimate to the final number, the Canadian spring wheat crop tends to grow by an average of 8.5 per cent. The first estimate for this year’s Canadian spring crop was 18.89 million tonnes. Thus, if we’re using the average margin for error for the past five years (plus 8.5 per cent), this means that the 2017 Canadian spring wheat crop should end up at 20.5 million tonnes. If that was the case, it would actually top last year’s Canadian spring wheat crop!

For durum wheat, StatsCan has underestimated Canadian production by an average of 777,000 tonnes. This means that from their first estimate to the final number, the Canadian durum wheat crop tends to grow by an average of 15 per cent. The first estimate for this year’s Canadian durum crop was 3.9 million tonnes. Thus, if we’re using the average margin for error for the past five years (plus 15 per cent), this means that the 2017 Canadian durum wheat crop should end up at 4.48 million tonnes.

Finally, on pulses, in the last three years, StatsCan has underestimated Canadian peas output by an average of 355,000 tonnes. This means that from their first estimate to the final number, the Canadian peas crop tends to grow by an average of 11 per cent. The first estimate for this year’s Canadian peas crop was 3.79 million tonnes. Thus, if we’re using the average margin for error for the past 3 years (plus 11 per cent), this means that the 2017 Canadian peas crop should end up at 4.21 million tonnes.

For lentils, In the last three years, StatsCan has underestimated Canadian lentils output by an average of 263,000 tonnes. This means that from their first estimate to the final number, the Canadian lentils crop tends to grow by an average of 17 per cent. The first estimate for this year’s Canadian lentils crop was 2.29 million tonnes. Thus, if we’re using the average margin for error for the past 3 years (plus 17 per cent), this means that the 2017 Canadian lentils crop should end up at 2.68 million tonnes.

Granted, the StatsCan December report isn’t the final number but I think it’s incredibly important to give perspective.

To growth,

Brennan Turner

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