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Walter Dyck's Crop Reports

October 26, 2020

Hello,

Mustard harvest wrapped up in September across the production areas of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, North Dakota and Montana. The September finish is in remarkable contrast to the late mustard harvest in 2019 when 40% was completed in October or even in Spring 2020! Average actual yields were good but there were several, but significant, disappointments after what appeared to be great yield potential in July. We are continuing to receive 2020 harvest mustard samples and the quality thus far is very good.

Using the Olds Products contracted acres the average yellow (Andante) yield for 2020** along with the comparative for 2019 is as follows:

State/ Province                                                                Olds 2020 bs/acre       Olds 2019 lbs/acre
Alberta     1,050                                          700
Saskatchewan   750   775
North Dakota/Montana                               900750
Organic-Saskatchewan/Manitoba*           550200

Note: * Organic acres have a significant plow down (crop is turned under due to little or no harvest prospect) occurrence compared to regular mustard. Organic yields included in the averages above include only harvested acres and not seeded acres.

** Statistics Canada provides a yield average for Canada but does not separate by province (Alberta, Saskatchewan) or type (yellow, brown, oriental). The most recent Statistics Canada average yield estimate was in September and for 2020 is 882 lbs/acre (2019: 744 lbs/acre). The USDA provides the yield average for the USA where yellow is virtually the only type grown. The most recent USDA average yield for 2020 is 710 lbs/acre (2019: 649 lbs/acre)

The most significant average yield increase was in Southern Alberta where yields were up 40% after receiving plentiful moisture in the early part of the growing season. Yields in Southwest Saskatchewan did not hold up to the estimates of July and after a very hot and dry August actual yields were 20% less. North Dakota and Montana and a good bounce back year on average but growers near the Saskatchewan/North Dakota border did not fare as well mostly due to the hot and dry August weather.

Average yield tells a story, and when combined with the number of total acres, production totals are calculated to determine supply in Canada/USA.  However, average yield does not tell the story at each farm and, for that matter, at each field. The variation in yield from grower to grower or field to field can be dramatic, and many variables play a part. Those variables include, but are not limited to, timely rain, seeding date, storms, harvest weather, herbicide effectiveness, early germination, even germination, soil quality, etc.

Despite the good yield performance in 2020, the yellow and brown mustard held by most growers in Canada and USA will be close to sold out by August 2021. Spot market price bids will move higher as supply runs out at the grower level. Inventory levels in dealers and processors bins will be normal (2-5 months’ supply) and provide a buffer until the 2021 harvest is available. As mentioned in my July report the number of mustard acres in 2020 are down 25% in Canada (mostly for brown mustard) from 2019. This drop occurred in Saskatchewan. Yellow mustard production in North Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon is stable at approx. 30,000 MT per year.  This is over the past 5 years on approximately 100,000 acres/year.  Yellow production in Canada is much more variable from year to year but in 2020 and 2019 the production was approx. 65,000 MT each year.  This is the same as demand – mostly from the USA.

Due to a strong carryforward position from 2019, Olds Products contracted brown acres were lower in 2020. Our average yield was lower by over 20% in 2020.  This is due to a much lower than expected yield in Southwestern Saskatchewan caused by the high heat and no rain in August.

Organic Yellow contracted production for Olds Products had a good year based on the average yield, but for over 30% of our contracted acres in several dry areas of Saskatchewan and Manitoba the lack of early season rain was too difficult to overcome. Challenges that caused the 30% plow down (over 50% in 2019) were mainly the lack of germinating moisture causing poor and uneven emergence which then allowed the weeds to get ahead and choke out the mustard.

Given the prospect of low mustard supply levels among growers we can expect a good bounce up for acres in Canada in 2021 but it will depend on competitive contract pricing.

Harvest samples received from Olds Products contracted growers for 2020 has very little, if any, damage (20% of yellow was affected in 2019), some wild buckwheat and only a small amount of samples have round black seeds that do not clean out. The percentages of detrimental weed seeds (wild buckwheat, wild mustard, canola) is very low. This is the case most years from our contracted growers. Thank you.

Mustard movement off farm is off to a strong start for both Olds Products contracted yellow and organic yellow and will level off for the balance of the crop year (to 31 July, 2021).  I expect contracted brown to move off farm in the second half of the crop year. 

Please let me know if you have questions or comments. Thank you.

Regards,

Walter Dyck CPA, CMA

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