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Prairie drought causes impending mustard shortage

Prairie drought causes impending mustard shortage

Brown mustard seed supply down, prices up

By Kate Ayers

Staff Reporter

Brown mustard seeds are in short supply, driving up the ingredient cost to make high-end Dijon mustard.

Drought in the prairies has halved the harvest of all mustard crops. Canada, the world’s largest mustard producer, is experiencing the smallest yields in 11 years, according to an online Bloomberg article posted Wednesday.

Although Americans mostly use yellow mustard as a condiment, European countries are big fans of the brown variety. With seed supplies from Canada being down, it could be detrimental to U.S. food makers as well as other top importers like Belgium, France, Japan and Senegal.   

“There is no substitute for brown mustard in making Dijon,” said Walter Dyck, manager of the mustard seed division at Wisconsin’s Old Products Co., in the article.

“The price – it can move higher quite quickly when supplies are tight. Everybody that needs it has to have it.”

The price of brown-mustard seed has risen by a third, up to 39 Canadian cents a pound from 29 cents last year, according to data collected by Stat Communications Ltd.

Exports have exceeded last year’s numbers, increasing by 16 per cent. Canada shipped out 2,900 tons of seed from August to Oct. 1, according to the latest available government data.

Contributing to this shortage are fewer acres planted in Canada (down 28 per cent from last year) and less than 60 per cent normal rainfall this growing season in southern parts of Saskatchewan and Alberta, according to the article.