Canary seed carryout most likely underestimated

CNS Canada — Canary seed could be looking at a carryout 10 times the size at which Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada had pegged it, according to one processor.

Ending stocks for the recently finished 2015-16 crop year are currently estimated at only 5,000 tonnes, according to the latest AAFC Outlook for Principal Field Crops report.

That number is way lower than it should be, according to David Nobbs, general manager of Canpulse Foods and current chair of the Canaryseed Development Commission of Saskatchewan.

“I say (carry-out) is 50,000 tonnes, they’re completely wrong… because marked product is coming to market and we won’t have harvest for at least four to six weeks and we’re still shipping,” Nobbs said.

“August and September sales will ship 20,000 tonnes alone in those two months before harvest even starts, so their 5,000-tonne number is ridiculous.”

With seeded area falling by 20 per cent for 2016-17 and the expected tightening of carryout stocks, prices were also forecast to increase, according to the AAFC report. The extra tonnage changes this outcome as well, Nobbs said.

“The canary market is weak, demand hasn’t been great. Mexico has bought significant quantities but we’re kind of at a stalemate,” Nobbs said. “The market has been about 22 to 23 cents today but buyers are looking for 21 cents, so it’s a bit of a standoff.”

Canary seed crop conditions are also looking good overall, Nobbs said, and that puts additional pressure on prices.

“There are some disease concerns, some lodging concerns, but I think production is definitely going to have the 150,000 tonnes required for the birdfeed market,” Nobb said.

Statistics Canada releases its first official estimates on the size of this year’s crop on Tuesday. Canada grew 149,000 tonnes of canary seed in 2015-16, according to Statistics Canada.

— Erin DeBooy writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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