Canadian flax prices, exports going up

(Dave Bedard photo)

MarketsFarm — High demand and an accompanying increase in overseas exports have resulted in reduced domestic supply for Canadian flaxseed, helping drive prices for the crop to highs unseen in years.

Marlene Boersch, owner of Mercantile Consulting Venture in Winnipeg, said the amount of flax from Canada going to the U.S. and European Union is greater than the year before. Canadian flaxseed has been filling the void left by Asian producers keeping their own product on the continent.

“What happened, as far as I can tell, some of the production that came out of Kazakhstan and Russia has been moving into China,” she said. “We are substituting what people were expecting from the Black Sea region into Europe from Canada.”

According to Prairie Ag Hotwire data from Wednesday, high-delivered bids for flax traded from $18.16 to $19.50 per bushel, up $4.50-$6 from last year.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s principal field crops outlook from Monday forecasts Canadian farmers will seed 460,000 hectares of flaxseed in 2021-22 — up 22 per cent from the previous year — and produce 675,000 tonnes of flax.

Scott Shiels of Grain Millers Canada at Yorkton, Sask. added that reduced supply has not only been due to increased exports, but also because the crop has fallen out of favour with some producers.

“Residue management’s tough (and) weed management isn’t great. It’s a tough crop to grow and it’s a tough crop to grow well,” he said.

“(Acres) have climbed a little bit for the last five years, but that supply coming off those acres is chasing a growing demand.”

Right now, he added, there is little downside to flax’s current situation — but also nowhere left to move upward.

“The market’s going to stay tight,” Shiels said. “We’ve seen prices as high as $22 (per bushel) recently. That’s the highest price I’ve seen in my 28 years in this business.”

— Adam Peleshaty reports for MarketsFarm.

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