Canaryseed acreage could increase in 2014

Western Canadian canaryseed prices continue to slowly trend lower to start the New Year, but new-crop contracts, if priced in the current spot price range, may spur an acreage increase in 2014.

Canada’s 2013/14 canaryseed acreage was the lowest in recorded history, according to Statistics Canada, who pegged area at 200,000 acres. The previous low was in 1987/88 when farmers planted 205,000 acres.

“If you knew that the new crop price was going to be 22 Canadian cents (per pound), I think it would be attractive to producers relative to what other cereals are doing right now,” said Kevin Hursh, executive director for the Canaryseed Development Commission of Saskatchewan.

New-crop contracts could come as early as this week at the annual Western Canadian Crop Production Show in Saskatoon, he added.

Logistical issues seen moving grain across the Prairies during the fall and winter could also lead to farmers to look at planting more canaryseed in 2014.

“Producers wanting to sell canaryseed have been able to do so probably in a more timely fashion,” Hursh said, adding that a lot of crops it competes against will likely see large carryover stocks. “That may entice some people to take a look at canaryseed. But again, it’s still early.”

According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s monthly crop outlook report, released in December, carryout stocks are expected to decline drastically from 22,000 tonnes in 2012-13 to 5,000 tonnes in 2013-14.

The report also said exports are expected to slow by 12,000 tonnes in 2013-14 from the previous year. Hursh said that the slight decline in prices were due to slow export demand.

“From what I’ve seen and heard, demand is fairly light right now,” he said. “My understanding is that shipments are fairly consistent throughout the year and there isn’t a lot of seasonality to it.”

As of Tuesday, Prairie Ag Hotwire had FOB farm canaryseed valued between C21 and 22 cents per pound.

– Brandon Logan writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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