More flax expected in 2021

More acres predicted, but how many more?

(Flax Council of Canada photo)

MarketsFarm — Flax prices in Western Canada have remained strong and are down little off their recent highs, according to Scott Shiels of Grain Millers Canada Corp. at Yorkton, Sask.

Shiels believes those good prices will lead producers to plant more acres of flax this spring — but not the 22 per cent hike to 1.14 million Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) projected in last month’s supply and demand estimates.

“Everybody just kind of laughed at that,” he said, noting Grain Millers’ informal survey called for an average 10 per cent increase.

“That will refill the pipeline, but we’re a long way from the bin,” he added.

Although there are good prices for flax, Shiels pointed to good prices as well for other grains — so where would additional acres would come from?

Tight ending stocks are behind the sharp rise in flax prices over the past year. Prairie Ag Hotwire reported prices have jumped by $3.11 per bushel in Alberta, $6.78 in Manitoba and $9.50 in Saskatchewan.

Old-crop prices were $17.99/bu. delivered in Alberta and $23.50 in Saskatchewan, with Manitoba in the middle. New-crop prices were $15.50-$17/bu. delivered.

AAFC’s March report estimated ending stocks for 2020-21 to be 50,000 tonnes. Production was pegged at 578,000 tonnes and exports at 540,000 tonnes.

For 2021-22, AAFC forecast production to increase to 675,000 tonnes, with exports slipping to 500,000 tonnes, and ending stocks rising to 125,000 tonnes.

Statistics Canada’s first survey-based estimates of prospective plantings for 2021 is due out April 27.

— Glen Hallick reports for MarketsFarm from Winnipeg.



Stories from our other publications