Mustard acres at a high, eyeing blooming stage

Brown mustard seed, used to make Dijon, is now moving at about 33 cents a pound. (Peggy Greb photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

CNS Canada –– Canadian mustard acreage is at a high right now, and the crop has avoided the bulk of the damage from the excessive precipitation in the past few weeks — but a late start may still impact crop yields.

The seeded acreage report released June 27 by Statistics Canada showed 465,000 seeded mustard acres in Canada this year, up from 365,000 in 2013 and 335,000 acres in 2012. A few factors pushed mustard acres higher this year, according to Walter Dyck of Olds Products at Lethbridge.

“Right around the turn of the calendar year, so in January to February, other commodity prices showed significant weakness and the spot pricing for mustard did not,” said Dyck. “So for that reason, and for the relatively low farm inventories of mustard, (growers) also put more mustard acres in the ground.”

Mustard, grown in Saskatchewan and Alberta since the 1950s, is also rising in acreage due to decreasing mustard acres in the U.S., according to Dyck.

“I think that’s largely due to the currency,” he said. “The Canadian dollar in the last year became a little weaker than in was in 2013, and that also probably drove more acres from the U.S. up to Canada.”

While currency was a contributing factor, the two stronger factors were the price pressure and low on-farm inventories for mustard.

“A little uncertainty”

“The spot market for mustard is really holding up quite well as we go through this growing year,” said Dyck. “That’s probably just in response to the low inventory that’s come forward from the previous year, and maybe just a little bit of uncertainty, as there always is in any growing year.”

Excessive moisture in certain areas and heat later in the season are areas of concern with growing and harvesting mustard.

“Mustard likes to have the blooming done usually before the biggest part of the heat of the summer,” said Dyck. “And this year because of the late start and the cool start, (growers) may have mustard blooming during that time, and that can usually decrease the yield.”

Prices are now around 36 to 37 cents a pound for yellow mustard and about 33 cents a pound for brown mustard, Dyck said. Yellow mustard in mostly used for regular condiment products and brown mustard is used for hot mustard products, such as Dijon mustard.

While an excessive amount of rain has impacted many acres in Saskatchewan in recent weeks, mustard has avoided the brunt of the damage, for the most part.

“Most of the mustard that is grown in Saskatchewan is more in the southwest corner and then into central areas of the province,” said Dyck. “So that southeastern corner, it has moved more to other oilseeds in the crop rotation.”

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


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