Mustard growers in Canada and USA are reporting very good progress thus far with their 2020 crop. There were early season moisture concerns in some large growing areas in Saskatchewan but those have been laid to rest in the past two weeks after several rains that dropped up to five inches over the growing area in Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Montana and North Dakota. This year’s start is in contrast to the two previous years that saw late poorer starts caused by cool and dry conditions.
Weather forecasts for the next few weeks are for below average temperatures across the growing area and this will be helpful for the mustard plants as they come through the blooming stage with below average heat stress.
The closure of restaurants during Covid-19 adversely affected the demand for mustard, but grocery demand was strong during this time. Going forward the demand for mustard will remain strong but not move higher from previous years. On the supply side the major mustard forecaster (Statistics Canada and Ag Canada) has reported a significant drop in overall mustard acres in Canada to 250,000 acres for 2020 (25% drop!). A level this low has only been reported twice in the past 20 years, occurring in 2006 and 2012. Brown mustard acres saw the biggest drop in acres. This was expected given the surplus production in ’18 and ’19 when contract prices were higher. The fact that yellow mustard in Canada did not respond to fill the mustard acre void left by the brown drop is concerning. It appears that low carryforward stocks will now occur in 2021 even after factoring for good expected yields for 2020 in Canada and USA. Despite good contract prices and decent spot prices in 2020 Canadian growers chose other crops to grow, such as lentils. Reports from the USA are for a fourth straight year where mustard acres in Montana, North Dakota, Washington, Idaho and Oregon will be near 100,000 acres (virtually all yellow). Oriental mustard acres in 2020 are few and far between in Canada as the reported number is just 15,000 acres. This is down from 50,000 in 2019. As with the yellow acres, there must be some concern that the message of what is needed in the market is not being communicated to growers.
Olds Products increased contracted Organic Yellow acres in 2020 due to increased demand and very little carryforward supplies from 2019. Yield prospects are very good at this time. We significantly decreased contracted acres of Organic Brown in 2020 due to higher production in 2019, but overall market demand increased.
I will make a trip through Alberta and Saskatchewan starting next week to view mustard crops. Watch for my next report in August.
Olds Products picked up a record amount of mustard from contract growers in June. July will also be busy as we look to clean out the bins for our contract growers.