Canary seed could be more profitable than cereals this harvest

Despite harvest nearing an end, canary seed prices continue to downtrend due to reports of huge yields across Saskatchewan.

However, Kevin Hursh, executive director for the Canaryseed Development Commission of Saskatchewan, said prices still compare favourably versus other crops.

As of Thursday, Prairie Ag Hotwire had FOB farm canary seed at 23 to 24 cents per pound, which is one cent per pound lower than two weeks earlier.

“People are talking about tremendous yields (for most cereals), and when you start doing the math at current prices, canary seed is comparing very favourably with cereals,” he said. “I would suggest it is more profitable than other cereals for this harvest.”

Those tremendous yields are also true of the canary seed crop as well, Hursh said.

“I think yields will be higher than the five-year average and it’ll probably be one of the better ones of all time,” he said. “I’ve talked to some producers that have had some very good yields.”

Despite the good yields, production is still expected to be significantly lower than in 2012-13. According to Statistics Canada, 2013-14 production is estimated at 97,500 tonnes, compared to 149,700 tonnes the previous season.

As of Thursday, Saskatchewan Agriculture’s weekly crop report had 86 per cent of the crop combined, two per cent ready to be combined, five per cent swathed, and seven per cent still standing.

If growers find current prices for canary seed unreasonable, Hursh said the crop can be easily stored as it takes up limited bin space.

“It’s not an urgent need for producers to move it, and it is a crop that if it goes into the bin in good condition, it can be stored for years — and sometimes it is,” he said.

“I think everybody is not in a tight cash situation like they maybe were six or 10 years ago, so they don’t need the funds and canary seed isn’t a bulky crop, so it isn’t taking up as much bin space as some other things.”

— Brandon Logan writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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