Canaryseed bids still under pressure

CNS Canada — Despite a late spring and logistical problems with rail transportation, canaryseed prices continue to linger within the downward edge of their range.

The spot price, as of Friday, was 20 to 22 cents per pound, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire.

Producer and exporter David Knobbs of Kindersley, Sask., said that’s down from harvest when the price was 27 to 28 cents/lb.

A lack of railcar availability for canaryseed stocks over the past several months has put downward pressure on the market, he said, “because we can’t get it down south. There’s only so much stuff we can ship to Europe and Brazil.”

Knobbs, who also sits as chairman of the Canaryseed Development Commission of Saskatchewan, said getting the crop to Mexico and the U.S. is crucial because the two countries are projected to make up 60,000 tonnes of this year’s 150,000-tonne Canadian export program.

“U.S. shipments haven’t been great, shipments to Mexico over the past few months haven’t been great, both because of the lack of allocation of railcars into those markets by the railroads.”

Fortunately sales to Brazil and Europe are moving at a normal rate, he said.

At this point, Knobbs said, it’s hard to know how much of this year’s crop has been planted.

Statistics Canada estimated 245,000 acres of canaryseed would be planted in its planting intentions report on April 24, up from 210,000 acres in 2013.

Knobbs, however, noted growers are “shipping our stocks down to virtually nothing this year and we know there’s thousands of tonnes in the system and in bins.”

As well, he said, some farmers in southeastern Saskatchewan will be tempted to plant canaryseed due to a late spring, which “tends to increase acreage because (canaryseed is) not as susceptible to frost.”

Canaryseed, he said, has a shallow rooting system that requires consistent rainfall with a cool July to get optimum yields. Last year, Knobbs said, he saw the highest yields ever at his farm — 35 to 40 bu./ac. — largely because of a cool, wet July.

The three main areas in which canaryseed is grown in Saskatchewan are around Kindersley, Regina and Humboldt. So far, Knobbs said, the Regina and Humboldt regions have seen moisture — but not so much in Kindersley.

“The middle of July will tell the tale.”

As for railcar problems, Knobbs said crops seem to have recently begun moving.

“We’re not back to getting tonnes of cars yet or anything but it is getting better.”

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


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