Flaxseed bids likely at highs for now

Concerns over unseeded acres sent flaxseed bids in Western Canada higher over the past month, but the highs may be in for now as attention in the markets turns to the increased availability of competing supplies.

At the end of June, Statistics Canada pegged Canadian flaxseed area at 1.1 million acres, which would compare with 925,000 acres the previous year.

However, the number was immediately downplayed in the trade, as wet fields in some key flax-growing regions kept some intended acres unseeded. Grant Fehr of Keystone Grain at Winkler, Man. estimated actual seedings at closer to 850,000 acres.

Those smaller acreage ideas sent nearby spot bids as high as $16 per bushel, said Fehr.

While any weather problems that materialize during the North American growing season could provide some further support for flax, he said increased competition from other flaxseed suppliers would likely weigh on values.

Eastern European growers will soon be harvesting their flaxseed, while supplies from Argentina will also soon be available, said Fehr. “With the levels they’ll be offering at, we won’t be able to hold that $16 level much longer,” he said.

Those supplies lessen the need for the North American crop, said Fehr.

He said it was still early to say how the crop in the ground was faring, but noted nearby weather forecasts are looking good for development.

However, he said, “it will be the end of September before a lot of this gets harvested.”

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