It is not a bumper crop. But it is a better crop. As many as 200 million seedlings total are now forecast for the 2011 annual planting season in British Columbia.

That WSCA projection is based on 160-million seedlings requested for lifting this fall. Complete numbers won’t be available until the 2011 summer hot-lift requests are tallied later this year. So far, 12.5-million seedlings have been requested from BCTS to be sown for next summer’s planting season. The Industry is forecast to request between another 20-million to 30-million seedlings for the summer 2011 season. It’s upon these projections that the optimistic 200-million number is derived. As 2010 winds up, the number of seedlings planted this year is expected to be around 180-million. For the past three years planting numbers have dropped steadily from a high of around 260-million.

Just how many seedlings industry will finally order for 2011 remains unknown. But it is not expected that the WSCA projections used will be wildly off. These forecasts contradict the WSCA earlier estimates in 2010 that next year would be a very low ebb for nurseries and planting firms. Previous estimates were far lower than where the confirmed tally stands now. Those earlier pessimistic forecasts were based on harvest billing system estimates at the time, and projections of typical ordering trends. But things appear to have turned around, although no sources available to the WSCA could say what has caused it. Informed conjecture states that the actual harvested area may have increased over expectations. Or, licensees may have begun to order trees for areas they were previously risk-managing for natural regeneration. It may be both.

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