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Since 1897, Olds Products, Leaders in MustardFitzpatrick Bros.

2018 Crop Reports

April 27, 2018

I hope I am not jumping early but could it be that spring is sprung, finally? This week the last of the snow piles in Lethbridge should disappear and the typical city spring work will start. That is not the case in country where land is just starting to thaw and spring melt runs into low lying areas. It will be at least 2-3 weeks before work can start on the farms.  This will be at least a month behind the early starts in the last two years. The good news may be we will not have to worry about an early frost only because nothing will be up until the middle of May, at the earliest.

In 2016 there was a large, late spring acre grower response to yellow mustard due to the high spot prices at the time. The fundamentals (i.e. low stock use ratio) are not much different this year but spot price bids are not sending a message that more acres are needed. The late start to planting this spring does not favor mustard (compared to early seeding whereby avoiding the highest summer heat during flowering) and, unlike the conditions one year ago, the dry sub-soil moisture can rely only on spring rains.

I agree with predictions that from Ag Canada and USDA that mustard acres will be hard pressed to rally like they did in 2016 and therefore stay under 400,000 acres in Canada and around 70,000 acres in the USA (similar to 2017).

The 2018 mustard production contract program, that most mustard companies have, or are part of, had a very good start and early finish. The early contract start was first intended for brown mustard, which saw a jump in spot prices before the 2017 harvest, but soon included yellow after news that Western Europe may be coming to North America to buy after shortages were reported in Russia & Ukraine. Together with the surplus 2016 stocks of yellow mustard, it did not take long for the market to fill its requirements for end use customers in Canada, USA and Europe well into 2019. After that need was filled, and together with high inventory levels of yellow at mustard buyers silos’, it did not take long for spot mustard bids to drop again, but activity in the spot market is now very quiet as growers know the current on farm inventory of good quality yellow and brown mustard is very low.

Olds Products had a record number of acres that were contracted in 2018 due to increasing demand for all our mustard products, including organic. Our brown and yellow inventory levels will need a strong replenishment from our contract growers’ soon after harvest in 2018. The plan is to send harvest sample bags this summer along with instructions where to send them. I will plan a crop tour/inspection this summer and hope to cover most of our production areas in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, North Dakota and Montana.

All the best to you for the 2018 growing season! Thank you.

Regards,

Walter