Canaryseed movement slows in Western Canada

Movement of canaryseed in Western Canada has slowed down, following a pickup in activity prior to Christmas.

Bobby Leavins, operations manager with Rayglen Commodities at Saskatoon, said a strong price encouraged farmers to sell their crops just before Christmas — but that value has since dropped off, causing farmers to be slower sellers.

According to Prairie Ag Hotwire, canaryseed cash prices delivered to the elevator were in the 25 to 28.5 cents per pound range prior to Christmas, and ranged from 25 to 28 cents/lb. as of Wednesday (Jan. 16).

Leavins noted new-crop prices being offered for canaryseed are similar to old-crop prices, but how much each farmer will get depends on where his or her farm is located.

"The new-crop price depends on the area, so we’re asking growers just to call in and let us know what area they’re in and we’ll see what we can put together for them," he said. "It’s kind of freight-sensitive so it’s tough to really put a value on it."

The price trend for canaryseed in mid-January was fairly steady, but many factors could come in and move the market.

Leavins said the price will all depend on what happens in the spring in Saskatchewan, as the majority of Canada’s canaryseed crops is grown there.

How many acres farmers plan on putting in the ground, what the soil moisture conditions are like, and how much canaryseed actually gets seeded will all affect the price, he said.

Canaryseed acreage in Western Canada will probably increase in the spring of 2013 from 2012, but by how much is still up in the air, Leavins said.

"A lot of guys are waiting to see what’s going to unfold in some of the markets here, the U.S. drought situation and how that’s going to affect prices going into the spring," he said.

How much canaryseed is seeded in the spring will also depend on how the crops with which it competes for acres are priced, he said.

Canadian farmers planted 300,000 acres of canaryseed in 2012, up from 275,000 in 2011, according to Statistics Canada.

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

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