After a great start in August, the mustard harvest continues but has slowed significantly. The weather the past few weeks has been mainly cool and damp. The forecast looks to improve next week as cloudy skies hopefully give way to sun. Temperatures may continue to be lower than normal but hopefully will not affect the ability to bring in the mustard. The estimated mustard harvest progress for Olds Products is at very much in line with the 80% completion estimate for all of Western Canada. Although only 20% remains in the fields it includes all of our organic acres and about 40% of the yellow contracted in Alberta. North Dakota and Montana are virtually done.
Early average yield estimates of pounds per acre for Olds Products are as follows:
- SK at 600
- AB at 700
- ND/MT at 800
- SK at 1000
Given the lack of moisture in most growing areas this summer, especially in southwest SK, the yellow yields in Western Canada are no surprise and will be below the 5 year and 10 year averages. The interesting observation this year is the spread in yellow yields for each province and both states (MT and ND) from 300 lbs./acre to 1200 lbs./acre. Moisture had a lot to do with the yield spread but the seeding date also played a role. Brown Mustard proved again that it is more drought tolerant than Yellow or Oriental seeds. The spread in brown yields in SK, where almost all of brown seed is grown in North America, was 800 – 1500 lbs./acre.
Brown seed reserves were zero shortly before harvest began in August, but the market anticipated that a supply surge was coming and spot prices started to fall this summer. As a result of aggressive contract prices, seeded acres in SK for 2018 jumped 50% to over 125,000 acres. The possible supply from 2018 could be a record at over 60,000 MT while annual demand tops out at 40,000 MT. Although the difference appears large, most will be used by dealers and end users to replenish their inventory levels and avoid running out again in the near future.
Unlike brown mustard, the yellow acres in Canada did not move higher from the previous year. After a poor yield in 2017, and given the lower yields in the largest producing province of SK, the prospect for tightening reserves is very real. However, USA production was solid and the supply will help to mitigate some of the upward price pressure in Canada.
Based on early shipments and the harvest samples received thus far the quality of the 2018 mustard looks good and is no different from previous years for Olds Products.
Despite the current cool and damp conditions the soil moisture levels are very low in most mustard growing areas. Growers will need fall rain to take some of the pressure off the 2019 spring start.