Mustard yields ‘all over the map,’ analyst says

Canada’s mustard harvest is ongoing throughout the Prairies, with yields varying greatly from field to field, said Patrick Ackerman, chair of the Saskatchewan Mustard Development Commission (SMDC), said.

“Mustard yields are all over the map,” he said. “I’ve heard poorer yields than last year, and I’ve heard better yields than last year. It’s kind of a mixed bag depending on where the crop is and what weather people got.”

According to Saskatchewan’s weekly crop report released Thursday, roughly 44 per cent of the mustard crop had been harvested as of Monday, with the southwest region furthest along.

“The harvest is progressing pretty good,” Ackerman said. “The weather’s been co-operating north of the (Trans-Canada Highway), but areas around the No. 1 have been a little wet.”

In terms of prices, yellow, brown and oriental mustards have been relatively stable throughout the season, he said, while adding that low carryover stocks have kept prices from declining from harvest pressure.

“Mustard is pretty stable in price,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any carryout of brown mustard, I think bins are empty. For yellow mustard, the bins are virtually empty too, so I think the carryout is very low. Depending on what the crop turns out to be, that will dictate what prices do between now and the end of November.

“I think prices will remain fairly flat.”

Like prices, demand for the Canadian product would be on par with last year as well, Ackerman added.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s August field outlook report had Canada exporting roughly 120,000 tonnes of mustard this season, which is the same amount as 2012-13.

“Demand is fairly flat,” he said. “Ukraine had a fairly poor crop, so Europe is in buying.”

As of Thursday, Prairie Ag Hotwire had FOB farm yellow mustard topping out at 40 cents per pound, brown mustard as high as 37 cents per pound, and oriental mustard at 30 cents per pound.

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

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