Yellow mustard bids solid

MarketsFarm — Yellow mustard bids remain solid in Western Canada, which should encourage acres this spring.

“Yellow mustard started firming up after harvest,” said Walter Dyck of Olds Products.

Poor conditions and quality concerns in the fall provided some of the support at that time, with top end bids still holding around 40 cents/lb.

Brown prices were also firm following harvest, but have backed away slightly to trade in the 27-28 cents/lb. area after data came out showing higher-than-expected brown mustard acres, according to Dyck.

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“The signal is that yellow could use some acres this year,” he said, but added “the market is definitely saying ‘we have enough brown.'”

While yellow mustard prices may be somewhat encouraging, Dyck said price increases above current levels were unlikely, as the United States had a good crop despite some harvest issues in North Dakota.

Canada seeded about 400,000 acres of mustard in 2019-20, producing 135,000 tonnes, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada data. Early estimates for 2020-21 predict slight increases in area and yields, taking total production to 145,000 tonnes.

Dyck agreed total mustard acres would probably be similar on the year, with a shift toward more yellow mustard and less brown.

Dyck said the lack of consistency in mustard yields discouraged some growers from the crop, especially as average canola yields continue to grow. He was optimistic a new hybrid variety, now under review by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, would help on that front when it becomes commercially available in 2022.

Dyck also estimated one to two per cent of the 2019 mustard crop remains to be harvested. The quality of what comes off in the spring harvest will depend on what it looked like before the winter set in.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin reports for MarketsFarm from Winnipeg.

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