Mustard crops middling, should fare better than 2017’s

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CNS Canada — Kevin Hursh expects he’ll soon hear some good news on his brown mustard crop.

“It was probably my only crop that is going to make me a little bit of money,” he said.

He’s still waiting to hear about grading based on the samples he shipped off to the lab, but he’s optimistic.

“Sometimes that can give you a nasty surprise if you’ve got wild mustard contamination or something you didn’t expect, but I’m hoping that all comes back well.”

He said he has contracted the first 10 bushels at 38 cents/lb., and current market prices are sitting at about 32 to 34 cents/lb.

“So at those numbers, that will probably bring a bit of a profit above other crops,” he said.

Hursh, who farms northwest of Swift Current and is also executive director for the Saskatchewan Mustard Development Commission, said mustard production overall in southwestern Saskatchewan appears to be below average.

The main mustard-growing areas of southwestern and south-central Saskatchewan were extremely dry this year, similar to a year ago, although Hursh said he did not expect the crop would be as bad as it was in 2017.

“But I think we’ll be off our long-term average.”

Statistics Canada on Aug. 31 estimated mustard production this year at 175,300 tonnes, with 130,100 tonnes of that in Saskatchewan and 43,700 tonnes in Alberta.

That compares to 121,000 tonnes nationally in 2017: 94,500 in Saskatchewan and 27,100 in Alberta

The 2013-17 five-year national average is 166,200 tonnes for all types of mustard. StatsCan did not provide specific information for different types.

Matthew Bernard, an oilseed specialist with the Saskatchewan government, said the mustard harvest is almost complete, with variability in plant maturity and patchiness showing up in many fields.

“It’s one of those cases where there has been better, there’s been worse; overall it’s been OK. Not much different than other crops in terms of what they’re dealing with environmentally,” he said.

Increased acres compared to last year might be affecting prices, he said, but added there’s been good demand from international buyers.

Information supplied by Prairie Ag Hotwire shows yellow mustard, delivered to the elevator, currently priced at 34-35 cents/lb., brown mustard at 31-31.5 cents and oriental mustard at 19-26 cents.

The 2018-19 yellow mustard crop has traded in a range between 31.5 and 43 cents/lb. over the past year. Brown mustard has been priced between 29.5 and 46 cents during the same period, while oriental has ranged from 19 to 34.5 cents.

— Terry Fries writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Glacier FarmMedia company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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