Mustard has room to the upside

A smaller-than-expected mustard crop in Western Canada this year should keep values well supported going forward, especially as end-users look to secure supplies through the spot market, according to an industry official.

Yellow mustard and brown mustard bids have some room to the upside, as a number of end-users are starting to be short of product, said Baine Fritzler, vice-president of the Saskatchewan Mustard Development Commission.

"Their contracted production didn’t come in where they thought it would be, and they lost some to weather this summer," he said, adding "there is no downside in the market, and we might see a two- or three-cent upside."

At this time of year, end-users should be bringing in contracted product and not be in the spot market, said Fritzler. However, some buyers were already in the spot market.

According to the latest Statistics Canada production survey, released Oct. 4, Canadian farmers grew 125,500 tonnes of mustard in 2012-13, a slight improvement on the 124,800 tonnes grown the previous year. However, that number was well off the 138,200-tonne crop forecast in July.

Dryness in parts of Saskatchewan and hailstorms in the mustard-growing region of Alberta cut into the size of the crop, said Fritzler, who farms at Govan, Sask., about 100 km north of Regina.

Yellow mustard is now priced at 35 to 37 cents per pound, delivered to the elevator, while brown mustard bids top out at 32 cents and oriental at 25 cents, according to the latest Prairie Ag Hotwire data.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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