Mustard acreage set to rise, but prices under pressure

CNS Canada — Last year’s good yields and an expected rise in the number of seeded acres have moved the spot price lower for mustard, but only slightly, according to an industry official in Lethbridge.

Walter Dyck of Olds Products says 36 cents a pound is the number he’s hearing in the market right now for a pound of yellow mustard.

“That’s a cent or two lower than in the past couple of months.”

The spot price last year at this time was in the 40- to 41-cent range because of poor yields in 2012, he said.

Kevin Hursh, executive director of the Saskatchewan Mustard Development Commission and a farmer near Saskatoon, said he had recently contracted brown mustard for 34 cents a pound for the new crop, but says that price is now closer to 27 or 28 cents.

“That tells me there was a lot of interest at the higher numbers given the current environment, and that they’ve dropped their new-crop contract programs.”

The expected increase in seeded acreage this year could be one of the reasons why, he explained.

About 450,000 acres are expected to be planted to mustard in Canada this year, with 350,000 of those taking shape in Saskatchewan and the rest in Alberta, according to Dyck. All told, that will be 100,000 more than last year.

This year’s slow winter shouldn’t affect those projections, said Hursh.

“Typically a later spring will not affect mustard, so the same acres will probably go in whether it’s later or whether it’s early.”

According to Dyck, there will be very little inventory left on farms by the end of July, so they’re really dependent on a good crop this year.

Any disruptions could move the price, he cautioned.

“I think very quickly, just given the fact that we don’t have that carry-forward inventory.”

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


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