Flax crop could average 30 bushels an acre

(Dave Bedard photo)

CNS Canada –– Canada’s 2015-16 flax crop could be about 30 per cent bigger than last year’s, according to an expert in the industry.

“A million tonnes is what they’re talking about for Canada,” said Richard Zacharias, general manager of Prairie Flax Products near Portage la Prairie, Man.

While the majority of the crop still has to come off, samples Zacharias has seen so far have left him optimistic.

“The quality is good, the yields are good; they’ll be average to above-average,” he said.

The yields he’s seen lead him to think the crop could average 30 bushels an acre, he said, which would be up slightly from last year’s output.

According to Prairie Ag Hotwire, a bushel of flax is selling for $12, slightly softer than a year ago.

“The market is probably going down a bit because it was really a big crop this year, so once you get a larger supply the demand obviously is eased a bit, so prices do tend to go down a little,” Zacharias said. “It is certainly not going up, that’s for sure.”

One saving grace has been the decline in the Canadian dollar. “Seventy per cent of our sales are in U.S. dollars,” said Zacharias.

Flax’s three main uses are in the bakery sector, pet food and animal feed.

While the flax harvest is well underway, Zacharias said more half of it is still on the field — partly because of how well it handles the cold.

“You can actually harvest it after a dead frost; it doesn’t get damaged.”

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

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