The North American 2020 mustard harvest began last week in Montana. Mustard crops in North Dakota and the southern areas of Alberta/Saskatchewan are 1-3 weeks behind while mustard crops further north in Saskatchewan, where Olds has contracted mainly organic yellow mustard, will be harvesting in mid to late September. The next 10 days look quite optimal for harvest as dry and very hot conditions prevail throughout the areas, but I think most of the mustard harvest will be in September due to the dry start in Saskatchewan and parts of other growing areas. A small but significant number of these fields will have two stages of growth caused by the uneven germination after planting. The later stage will catch up now as it also starts to dry down or mature.
Initial yellow mustard yields in Montana are 800 lb/acre. Although good, they could have been better with a timely rain in July. I expect North Dakota to average about the same given the replies to my recent survey. Based on my July crop tour in Saskatchewan and Alberta the average yellow mustard prospects there range from 800 lb/acre in Saskatchewan to 1000+ lb/acre in Alberta. Mustard acres in Alberta broke out of a drought with good rains at critical times this year, and many growers will almost double their yields from the last two years. The contracted brown and oriental acres for Olds Products look to have strong yields at 1000+ lb/acre. Our 2020 organic acres in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are a record number for us and production looks to be on track for record production!
The effect of summer storms this year was evident and was reported in all mustard growing areas. But this was below a more normal year where 5-10% is lost.
Despite the overall “good” yield prospects for mustard this year the move in grower mustard prices will be higher given the large drop in mustard acres in Canada in 2020 as reported in July. Mustard acres in the USA are projected to change little again this year after five straight years of growing 100,000 acres each year. Going forward, mustard will continue to have its work cut out for it in both countries to keep it in a grower’s crop rotation given the lack of herbicide choices and minimal varietal yield improvement.
The 2019 contract production and contract overproduction is now virtually all picked up off farms. It was a record year for receiving mustard off farms and we thank our contracted growers for their continued mustard production. 2020 crop movement off farms for Olds Products will start off without much fanfare but will be solid throughout the crop year (y/e July 2021). We will be cleaning up the last of the low quality yellow, on account of damage caused by the cool, wet harvest in 2019, as well as consolidating bins over the next 3 weeks or so. We plan to start with the brown mustard shipments in 2021, but until grower harvest information is received it is too early to plan too much.
Growers, please contact me with your production results at your earliest convenience upon completion of harvest of the contracted acres for Olds Products. I will provide the harvest sample instructions. For Canadian growers I will supply the FDA prior notice number to more easily enable the harvest samples to cross the border on their way to the Olds Products office in Pleasant Prairie, WI. where the samples will be evaluated.
Thank you. All the best with your harvest.