Mustard holding steady ahead of seeding

Mustard bids in Western Canada continue to hold up reasonably steady, and should remain firm as tightening old-crop supplies and the need to draw in acres this spring help the commodity ignore the ups and downs in competing commodities.

“Mustard’s slow coming up, and it’s also slow coming down,” said Baine Fritzler of Sundwall Seed Service at Govan, Sask. and a director with the Saskatchewan Mustard Development Commission.

The lack of a futures market for mustard kept values from reacting to speculative moves in outside markets, including canola, he said.

New-crop mustard prices have shown some improvement over the winter, with yellow currently contracting as high as 43 cents per pound and brown at 37 cents, said Fritzler. Oriental bids are lagging behind, topping out at around 30 cents.

Old-crop mustard is still moving, but supplies are getting tight. As a result, increased acres will be needed in 2013 to replenish the supplies.

“If we don’t get 350,000 acres, look out,” said Fritzler. He said it was too early to speculate on whether or not that level would be reached, but noted that interest for seed was routine from growers.

Statistics Canada releases its first survey-based acreage estimates on April 24. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada is currently forecasting planted mustard area in 2013 at 346,000 acres, which would compare with 336,000 the previous year.

Weather conditions over the next month may play a role in determining how much mustard is actually seeded. Mustard matures 10 days to two weeks earlier than canola. As a result, if there are any weather hold-ups, people will lean toward mustard, said Fritzler.

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

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