It was a pleasure to visit with growers in North Dakota and Montana in the week of 8-August together with Greg and Katie from the Pleasant Prairie office. In July I visited mustard fields and growers in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Thank you for showing us your fields and sharing your experiences.
The North American mustard harvest began in the last two weeks in Montana on a large scale and has since started in Saskatchewan. Given the current hot and dry harvest conditions the harvest will be completed in Montana shortly and then over the next two weeks it will start in North Dakota and Alberta if good harvesting weather allows.
The yield and quality outlook overall continue to look good in total but there is no doubt that most Montana growers were expecting better results. Yields are up from 2021 but well below earlier prospects after some earlier promising rains. Yields from 100- 600 lbs/acre are widely variable due to the variation in rainfall. I expect the Montana average to be 400 lb/acre and that is disappointing for growers. Some areas there received 3-4 inches in June and some just 1 inch. Very few growing areas in Montana received rainfall in July but did receive hot temperatures that blasted flowers off the plants.
The prospects for Alberta and North Dakota continue to look good to very good given the 6 plus inches of timely rainfall received in June and July. Temperatures there have been warm to hot but not as hot as Montana. I expect average yields to be 1000 lbs/acre.
Saskatchewan is the largest mustard growing area and the prospects there are very mixed. Yields will vary widely from 100-1000 lbs/acre and the average I estimate will be 500 lb/acre which is below what is considered a good yield. Rainfall was never widespread and many areas received showers as their only source of moisture. However, good prospects continue for the mustard growing areas around Saskatoon and north of Swift Current. Also Eastern, South Central Saskatchewan are also looking promising but many areas in the southwest will have poor to only fair crops this year. In the past ten years the southwest region had the largest number of mustard acres in Saskatchewan but this year the concentration of acres is more spread out.
Despite the poor mustard crop in 2021 Canada continued to export very close to a normal annual amount for the year ended 31-July-2022 which is amazing. Adjustments will have to be made to previous inventory levels or the previous year’s production amount. After all the mustard has to be grown before it is exported but in fairness the reporting system for mustard is very much an estimate for Statistics Canada and adjustments are needed from time to time. In any event it is a safe assumption to say that all grower mustard stocks in Canada will be virtually zero before new crop is harvested this year!
Spot mustard prices have held firm in the last few months suggesting that a significant surplus of mustard is not awaiting the market. Spot mustard bids may dip slightly after new crop contracted mustard starts to ship from farms and begins to fill the market.
Prospects for Russian yellow reaching Western European market look good despite an uncertain harvest but with improved truck transport to Germany. Russia seeded almost the same number of acres as in 2021 but yield is still to be determined. Ukraine is expected to be an exporter of organic mustard again this year but their share of the regular mustard export is now almost zero after years of decline.
It is obvious that our contract growers can expect good early movement this year and it is our intention to spread out the early shipping orders as fairly as possible among all growers. Please let us know when you have completed your mustard harvest and we will provide a shipping address to send a representative sample. An analysis of the samples is done internally and also by a lab in Canada at the Canadian Grain Commission. The sample information we receive is a great planning tool for our processing operation in Pleasant Prairie and the seed cleaning in North Dakota. Thank you.
Greg, Katie and I look forward to working with you (there are also many behind the scene in support) on getting your mustard picked up and paid. Please feel free to contact any of us on the team.