Wet spring hurts canaryseed crop prospects, lifts prices

CNS Canada — The Prairies’ wet spring appears to have cut into the amount of canaryseed acres planted in Western Canada.

David Nobbs, chairman of the Canaryseed Development Commission of Saskatchewan, said he recently took a drive around canaryseed planting areas in the province’s southeast — and while some areas had fine crops, many were stressed and some fields were devoid of canaryseed altogether.

“Moisture seems to have prevented many acres from going in,” he said.

Shannon Friesen, a provincial crop management specialist in Moose Jaw, said she’s heard reports of some crops delayed by just a few days — and others behind by 10 to 14 days.

“Closer to Manitoba, the worse the crop; the more you head west, the better they are,” she said.

The majority of canaryseed is planted in Saskatchewan, where the most recent data show 12 per cent of the crop rated as excellent, 61 per cent as good, 18 per cent fair, six per cent poor and three per cent very poor.

The best crops appear to be in the province’s west, around Kindersley, Rosetown and Biggar.

However, Nobbs said there are fewer acres out there than he initially projected. Back in November he guessed half a million canaryseed acres would go in the ground.

The true number, he said, will likely be around 300,000 — which is what Statistics Canada predicted in its spring planting intentions report.

Yields look like they will be lower. Nobbs noted his own crop, near Kindersley, achieved 35 bushels an acre last season but he’s not going to reach that.

“This year, maybe I’ll hit 25,” he said.

Along with moisture stress, Nobbs said, plant progress was hurt by July temperatures, which weren’t as cool as he would have liked.

But one thing the moisture stress has improved is the price.

“We’ve moved now from 22 cents to 25 cents (per bushel) to the grower in the last month to six weeks, we keep inching up.”

The rise comes at a time when prices normally sink as growers are usually emptying out their bins, he said.

“I think it’s possible we’ll see a 30-cent canaryseed price,” he added.

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

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Dave Sims writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. Dave has a deep background in the radio industry and is a graduate of the University of Winnipeg. He lives in Winnipeg with his wife and two beautiful children. His hobbies include reading, podcasting and following the Atlanta Braves.

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