Grainworld: Canaryseed could be ‘overproduced’

Winnipeg | CNS Canada — Canaryseed is a relatively small crop in the bigger picture of Canadian agriculture, but there are concerns that growers may produce too much this year.

So far it’s expected canaryseed area will increase to 247,000 acres this spring, from 210,000 in 2013-14. But it could get even bigger, Kevin Hursh, executive director of the Canaryseed Development Commission of Saskatchewan, said during a presentation here at the Wild Oats Grainworld conference.

Hursh added he’s worried the crop may become overproduced because it’s possible that “a bunch of people jump in” and plant canaryseed because it has advantages over some of the bigger crops in Canada’s backlogged grain movement environment.

Movement has been relatively easy for the specialty crop this year, he said, and it’s been a more liquid crop for farmers than other larger crops, such as wheat and canola. The crop also stores well for a long time and is less grade-sensitive.

If a lot of farmers jump on the bandwagon, acreage could grow to 300,000 to 350,000 acres this spring, which would cause an oversupply situation, said Hursh.

“And it’s a long time working through that,” he said, adding there are already large stocks of the crop because farmers can sit on it for a long time in storage waiting for a good price.

Current new-crop contracts are being offered at around 16 to 18 cents a pound, Hursh said, adding that not very much business will be done at those levels.

Prairie Ag Hotwire shows late February old-crop prices for canaryseed were around 19 to 21 cents per pound.

Prices for new-crop and old-crop are going to continue under pressure going forward, as long as crop movement is slow in Western Canada. Prices will especially be weaker for new-crop if farmers plant a significantly larger amount of acres to canaryseed this spring.

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

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