CNS Canada — Wet weather and a few other challenges are posting some early-season headaches for mustard growers, particularly in Saskatchewan, but three industry watchers say they’re still optimistic this year’s crop will be a successful one.
Early-season estimates pegged mustard acreage in 2014 at 450,000 acres in Canada, with 350,000 of those in Saskatchewan and the rest in Alberta.
According to Walter Dyck of Olds Products at Lethbridge, most of the Alberta crop is largely in the ground, but the same can’t be said for southern Saskatchewan.
Excess ground moisture and repeated rains have caused delays for many producers and Dyck estimates just 60 per cent of acres are complete.
Patrick Ackerman, chairman of the Saskatchewan Mustard Development Commission at Chamberlain, Sask., agrees it’s going to be a later crop for sure.
“Well, (mustard) can go in late to a certain extent, but it better get in within this week.”
Packed soil and flea beetles have caused problems, he added. “I know some guys that have receded because they missed spraying flea beetles.”
Mustard is a short-season crop but any more delays could begin to cut into yields, he said.
Dyck said he believes producers will hit the 450,000-acre mark when it’s all said and done. With the exception of waterlogged areas in Saskatchewan, he said, growing conditions are good in most areas, including Alberta, Montana and North Dakota.
According to Prairie Ag Hotwire, as of Monday, yellow, brown and oriental mustard were all holding steady. Top spot bids for oriental mustard were coming in at 29 cents per pound, 35 for brown and 38 for yellow.
“At the moment we’re pushing spot price a little higher on yellow, and a bit higher on the brown,” said Dyck, adding the contract price was 38 cents for yellow mustard in 2014.
Kevin Hursh, the SMDC’s executive director in Saskatoon, said profitable price levels are out there for anyone that can grow a decent crop.
“If you look at prices, they’ve strengthened a little bit, both for old- and new-crop.”
For his part, Ackerman said, while prices are holding their own, he’ll feel better once the crop is actually in the ground.
“There’s a long summer to go,” he remarked.
— Dave Sims writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.