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Mustard prices hang tough despite wet weather

CNS Canada — Cold, wet weather that has downgraded the quality of some of Canada’s staple crops isn’t having the same effect on mustard, according to two experts on the specialty crop.

While much of this year’s harvest is already over, a significant number of acres remains in Saskatchewan and Alberta, said Walter Dyck of Olds Products in Lethbridge.

“I don’t disagree with that 20 per cent number at all. I think there’s that much left in the fields,” he said, referring to general estimates of how many Prairie acres, including mustard, are left to be harvested.

Drier weather has pushed into the Prairies, however, giving farmers hope they will be able to get more crops off before winter arrives.

“The fields are saturated and there’s so much moisture in the air. Seems to be, we get one warm day and that’s enough to bring a shower overnight and then you’re back to square one,” said Richard Marleau, chairman of the Saskatchewan Mustard Development Commission.

Being an oilseed, mustard hasn’t experienced as much deterioration as most other crops, but is prone to a bit of shelling, he added.

As for prices, both men said the market for the three varieties of mustard — oriental, yellow and brown — is near 30 cents/lb.

Of the 125,000 tonnes Canada typically exports, Dyck said, most will go to the U.S. While growers in the U.S. planted a bit more mustard this year, he doesn’t see it changing the export ratio.

Demand for Canadian mustard remains steady, Marleau said, and yields should be similar to last year.

“From what I’m hearing, yields might be in the 800- to 900-lbs./ac.” range, he said. “Last year’s acreage on average was about 850 lbs.”

According to Statistics Canada, seeded acreage on the Prairies for mustard this year reached 525,000 acres, up considerably from the 2015 total of 345,000.

Dave Sims writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. Follow CNS Canada at @CNSCanada on Twitter.

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