Harvest weakness likely in mustard

(Resource News International) — Mustard bids in Western Canada have held reasonably steady over the past month, but could see some weakness over the next few months if crop conditions remain reasonably favourable.

“It’s raining as we speak,” said Baine Fritzler, chair of the Saskatchewan Mustard Development Commission, on Wednesday morning.

The moisture will definitely help in crop development, he said, although he added that there were still some dry areas in western Saskatchewan and eastern Alberta. “This crop isn’t in the bin yet.”

Mustard has a shorter growing season than other crops, which reduces the risk of frost damage if the harvest is delayed.

Looking at his own fields at Govan, Sask., about 110 km north of Regina, Fritzler noted that his mustard was in full flower and starting to pod, while his canola was hardly into full bloom, which is late for this time of year.

The European mustard harvest is currently underway and Fritzler said expectations are for a decent yellow mustard harvest in the region, which will create competition for Canadian supplies.

“I think we’ll see harvest pressure in yellow mustard this year, and even in the brown,” said Fritzler.

Spot bids for yellow mustard are currently around 36 to 38 cents per pound, while brown mustard values range from 25 to 28 cents, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire data.

While some weakness was expected, Fritzler didn’t think yellow mustard would break below 30 cents, although at the same time he said it will be Christmas before prices hit the upper-30-cents level.

Western Canadian farmers seeded 545,000 acres of mustard this year, up from 480,000 acres in 2008, according to the latest acreage report from Statistics Canada.

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