It takes money to make money certainly holds true for canola

The price of the two most popular seed varieties has ‘increased significantly’ in recent years

The cost of canola seed has been steadily creeping up in recent years and could top $70 an acre for some this year, according to Alberta Agriculture data.
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The price of canola seed “has increased significantly over the past few years” and if crop returns stay high, could go up more, says a market analyst with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry.

“Based on the average yearly price, a farmer seeding canola at five pounds per acre will incur a per-acre seed cost of $63 to $71 depending on the herbicide system,” Ryan Furtas said in a release.

“This makes seed the second-highest operating expense after fertilizer, which ranges from $65 to $90 per canola acre seeded, and is well ahead of chemical at $30 per acre.”

The price for both Roundup Ready and Liberty Link seed (which account for 95 per cent of acres) went up last year — Roundup Ready by 29 cents per pound and Liberty Link by 27 cents per pound.

According to a chart in the release, Roundup Ready seed has gone from just over $9 a pound in 2015 to just over $12 last year while Liberty Link seed has gone from just under $12 a pound to just over $14 last year.

“Looking at the average growth rate of Alberta canola seed prices, the Liberty Link price increase amounted to 1.96 per cent and Roundup Ready increased by 2.36 per cent,” said Furtas.

“Annual price increases for canola seed have been a trend for some time. However, the 2020 increases were more comparable to 2016 and 2017 versus the larger increases seen in 2018 and 2019.”

Alberta Agriculture’s numbers are similar to those put out by its counterpart in Manitoba, which predicts the cost of canola seed and treatment will be $67.50 an acre in 2021.

Aside from corn and soybeans (which cost $93 to $96 an acre for seed), the next most expensive per-acre seed cost is for peas ($50.49) followed by hard red spring wheat ($29) and northern hard red wheat ($27) with barley and oats under $20 an acre, according to Manitoba Agriculture.

Ag officials there put the operating costs (that is, not counting land and machinery costs) for growing canola in 2021 at $273 an acre. Its figures for the other major crops are: corn ($389), northern hard red ($249), hard red spring ($240), barley ($224), soybeans ($216), oats ($197), and peas ($193). Peas are the cheapest because that crop has very low fertilizer requirements. Somewhat higher nutrient costs make northern hard red more expensive to grow than hard red spring, while higher pesticide bills push the costs for growing barley higher than for oats.

Manitoba Agriculture’s figures can be found at (search for ‘cost of production’ and follow the links) while provincial figures an be found at (search for ‘farm financial statistics’ and follow the links).

Canola has been a good money-maker for producers thanks largely to high yields and “relatively strong market prices in recent years,” the Alberta Ag release states. But if this is a good year, seed prices may jump again.

“If canola prices continue to be strong into the fall of 2021, canola seed prices could be poised for further increases,” said Furtas.

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