Manitoba buckwheat in need of higher temperatures

CNS Canada — Manitoba’s buckwheat crops are off to a good start, little affected by storms, but now the crops need heat.

According to Rejean Picard, a provincial farm production extension advisor at Somerset, Man., the crops started off strong, as June’s weather provided good establishing conditions.

The same can’t be said for July, however. “We’re kind of behind I would say, relatively speaking, in terms of heat.”

The crops need warmth before cooler temperatures and frost come.

The buckwheat is likely to get that heat, though. Parts of the province are expected to get temperatures as high as 32 C this week, with warmer weather continuing throughout July, according to Environment Canada.

Environment Canada’s forecast also predicts some storms mid-week, but Manitoba’s buckwheat has endured that before.

Picard said the storms which hit parts of the province in early July didn’t cause widespread damage. Buckwheat is spread throughout the province, so spotty showers weren’t enough to have a large-scale impact on soil moisture.

Most of Canada’s buckwheat is exported directly to the U.S. or Japan. What happens in Canadian production isn’t likely to have a huge impact on prices globally, Picard said.

“China really drives the market for buckwheat, so if they’re having issues with some buckwheat production, or even Eastern Europe, there’s quite a bit of production there too,” he said.

Buckwheat prices are at about $13 to $14 per bushel, and the market is watching to see how China’s production shapes up.

“So if they had some issues then it may push the prices up with demand.”

Jade Markus writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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