Mustard seeding to drop with higher stocks, competition

Brown mustard. (Peggy Greb photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

CNS Canada — Stockpiles of mustard are likely to put a squeeze on the number of acres seeded in Canada this year, especially as the commodity competes price-wise with canola.

Olds Products, North America’s second-biggest mustard manufacturer, has started contracting acres in Alberta, Saskatchewan, North Dakota and Montana.

Seed division manager Walter Dyck expects less mustard will be seeded this year, as strong canola prices tempt producers who are on the fence.

“Those extra acres usually only come in when spot prices are relatively high,” he said.

Prices for mustard are lower compared with the previous year, when stocks of the crop were lower.

“There was very little that wasn’t spoken for or sold,” Dyck said.

That led to an increased amount of acres in the 2016-17 year, building up mustard inventories.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s latest supply and disposition estimates peg 2017-18 mustard acreage at 395,000, compared with last year’s 524,000 acres.

Yellow mustard is likely to make up about two-thirds of those acres, Dyck said, while the other third will be split between oriental and brown.

“I think for most growers they’re looking more for contracts, and waiting to see what companies will offer,” he said.

Spot prices for new-crop mustard in Western Canada are between 34 and 36 cents/lb. for yellow and about 31 to 33 cents/lb. for brown and oriental, according to data from Prairie Ag Hotwire.

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

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