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WINNIPEG, (Manitoba): ICE canola futures slid on Monday with a decline in soya prices, shrugging off a government report that estimated a sharply smaller Canadian crop. Statistics Canada estimated the country's canola harvest at 14.7 million tonnes, down 24 percent from last year due to drought, but higher than the average trade estimate of 14.1 million.

The estimate is a decent reflection of crop conditions in late July, which are the basis of the report, but conditions have since deteriorated, giving canola further upside, a broker said.

Chicago grain and soyabean futures fell after favourable weekend rains in the US Farm Belt and on expectations that approaching autumn harvests will boost supplies.

Canada's wheat crop

Drought has shrivelled Canada's wheat crop to its smallest in 14 years, and its canola harvest to a nine-year low, a government report showed on Monday.

Statistics Canada, in this year's first report on crop production, estimated the all-wheat harvest at 22.9 million tonnes, down 35% from last year and slightly larger than the average trade expectation of 22.6 million tonnes. Canola production looked set to reach 14.7 million tonnes, down 24% from last year, and also larger than the average trade forecast of 14.1 million tonnes.

"I think buyers around the world have already made major shifts," said Brian Voth, president of IntelliFARM, a farmer advisory service. "A lot of rationing has to happen."

Canola importers may turn to Ukraine, western Europe and Australia for substitutes, while US mills that depend on Canadian wheat to produce flour may need to blend in wheat from other countries, Voth said.

Harvests are small, but not as tiny as some expected, Voth said, adding that some of his farmer clients in Manitoba produced better yields than they expected.

ICE Canada November canola futures were little changed after the report, trading up 0.4%. Canola, a cousin of rapeseed, is used largely to produce vegetable oil. Minneapolis spring wheat futures also traded slightly higher. Statscan used satellite imagery and agro-climatic data up to July 31 for the report. It will provide updated crop estimates on Sept. 14.

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