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Walter Dyck's Crop Reports

December 19, 2019

Current spot mustard bids to growers are higher since last summer in response to lower reported production for 2019 and a higher than normal proportion of damaged yellow mustard caused by repeated September rains in South Central Saskatchewan and Western North Dakota.

2019 mustard acreage reports by Ag Canada and Saskatchewan Ag were decreased by 20%, to just over 400,000 acres, from estimates made last winter and through Spring. I believe most of the trade, including growers and buyers, knew the earlier reported acres were inflated but the lower production news was the straw that forced a higher bid, at least for yellow. This summer while doing my crop tour through the mustard growing regions I heard a number of times from growers in Saskatchewan that “no one else around me was growing mustard this year” and so I suspected the spot acres there were down. Mustard acres had jumped to 500,000 acres in 2018 in response to low stocks of yellow and brown on farm and in buyers’ bins. As it turned out, mustard acres made the response to higher production from 2018 to lower production in 2019. The latest reported Canada supply/use ratio moved lower to 35% but is still a comfortable number for the market. My concern with the stocks/use ratio is it brings in previous years carry in amounts and the reported amount for 2017 is high given stocks of yellow were almost depleted again in 2018. USA harvested 100,000 acres for the third year in a row with solid yields but with approx. 10,000 acres adversely affected by repeated rain in Northwestern North Dakota.

The reported outlook for 2020 acres is a minimum of 400,000 acres in Canada but that may increase in response to a need for higher yellow production in 2020 to meet normal yellow demand. USA will likely come in again with 100,000 yellow acres and supply approx. 50% of the domestic requirements.

In Canada/USA the 2019 average yield for yellow was just over 700 lbs/acre and the range was from 500 lbs/acre to 1600 lbs/acre. The bell curve, or yield dispersion is remarkably flat which means there were a similar number of growers at each the low, medium and high end of the range. Therein lies the inherent risk of growing mustard where even slight environmental impacts or grower practices can significantly affect yield. Perhaps no more so than yellow mustard.

We still are in the process of receiving grower harvest samples from 2019 and the results thus far have been largely No.1 yellow but approx. 5%-10% has high damage (No.4/SG) that will be cleaned but with higher losses to remove shrunken, sprouted and/or dark colored yellow. Another 5%-10% of yellow harvest samples remain to be received at our office and I predict these will also have cleaning losses due to higher damaged seed including green (immature) mustard.

Brown mustard is largely No.1 this year after looking at harvest samples thus far. Brown mustard is mainly grown in Canada and it did not experience the long wet/cold harvest period that some of the yellow went through. Yields also varied widely depending on the seeding date and receiving rain at opportune times. Average yield in Saskatchewan was 1000 lb./acre with an equal dispersion of yields between 800 lb./acre and 1700 lb./acre. Our requirement for brown acres will be lower in 2020 due the solid yields the past two years on a higher than normal amount of contract acres.

Olds Products will have a busy shipping period through the end of the current crop year in July 2020. It is our current plan to ship mainly yellow in January/February and then shift to Brown for a month some time in February. March will be a busy month for cleaning and shipping organic yellow. Organic brown is not needed until the latter part of the crop year but we will have some shipping in the Spring.

Olds Products is planning to start the 2020 contracting program in the week of January 20, 2020 and we look forward to working with you again.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Regards, Walter

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