The 2019 mustard harvest is now virtually complete in Canada and USA after repeated stops and starts caused by the cool wet months of September and October. The biggest disruption to the mustard harvest is in northeastern North Dakota where there is no doubt grades and quality will be affected by damage. Damage includes sprouted, shriveled, dark colored, rime and green seeds. I believe that area has received a record amount of rain since 1-August. The frequent cycle of rain followed by warm conditions caused sprouting and other damage to occur while the mustard was standing in the field. We expect harvest samples from this area to arrive at our office in the next 2-3 weeks and we will determine the extent of the damage.
In Canada the late harvest has not resulted in damaged seed being as prevalent. We have looked at submitted yellow mustard harvest samples the past 6 weeks and thus far the outlook is largely No.1. However, one area in south central Saskatchewan that recently finished their mustard harvest will see some effects of weather damage. Alberta first saw mustard harvested in the south in August and later further north towards the area from Calgary east to the SK border. There are still harvest samples to check but the outlook is for mostly No.1 quality from Alberta and Saskatchewan.
After my summer mustard tour in July, I was expecting average to above average yields in southwestern SK and through North Dakota/Montana. Thus far, actual results are in line with this forecast (1,000-1,100 lbs./acre), but for growers in northeastern ND it is still too early to determine. After the rain started in late June the mustard developed quickly but with so many stages of growth we needed a dry September. Of course that was anything but the case. In July, yields in Alberta were forecast to be lower than other areas that Olds Products contracts mustard. Actual results were between 500-600 lbs./acre in the area south of Lethbridge but improved to 800-1000 lbs/acre in the area east of Calgary to the AB/SK border, more or less on a line.
Brown mustard seed is grown essentially only in Saskatchewan in Canada/USA. It had a remarkable recovery this summer after the rain finally arrived in mid-June. Yields ranged from 800-1700 lbs./acre, but there are still some significant acres awaiting harvest. Seeded brown acres dropped sharply (down 40%) in 2019 in response to lower prices. Spot prices for yellow are firm mainly due to the 20% drop in Canadian acres in 2019. USA had little change in mustard acres which have remained stable since 2016 when they doubled!
We have had a good start to moving 2019 yellow mustard off farm in the last two months, and that will continue in 2020. For brown mustard we expect to start off-farm shipping in 2020 which is later than usual, but necessary, given the record amount we bought from our 2018 contracted acres.
Olds Products yellow and brown organic contract acres also had mixed results in 2019. Many organic acres endured flea beetle damage along with poor germination caused by the early cool and dry conditions. As a result, there was significant reseeding. Final results were worse in Manitoba. The harvest remains unfinished for some Saskatchewan organic contract mustard acres which fared mostly below expectations for yellow. Average yields may be close to 500 lbs./acre for yellow and a more remarkable 800 lbs./acre for brown. We expect to start moving our 2019 contracted organic mustard off farms in 2020.