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Pulse Crop Output Mostly Lower

The production of most Canadian pulse and special crops will be down from the year-ago level, with mustard output potentially falling to the lowest in almost 40 years.

A Statistics Canada crop production report on Monday pegged this year’s national mustard crop at just 78,900 tonnes, down about 20,000 from last year. If accurate, it will be smallest mustard crop since farmers harvested 76,500 tonnes in 1982.

The expected drop in mustard output comes despite the fact StatsCan is forecasting harvested area at 294,100 acres, up from 250,500 in 2020. But because coarse resolution-based modelling – upon which today’s production estimates are based - relies on historical averages for harvested area, the number of mustard acres that are actually combined will likely be lower yet, thus suggesting even further downside in the mustard production estimate. (StatsCan is due to release its final harvested area estimates in its updated December crop production report).

At an estimated 591 lbs/acre, this year’s average mustard yield is projected down 278 lbs or almost 32% from last year in the wake of hot, dry Prairie growing conditions.

At 1.97 million tonnes, this year’s lentil crop is expected down 30.9% from a year earlier, potentially the smallest crop since 1.53 million in 2012. At 4.23 million acres, lentil harvested area is up slightly from a year ago meaning all the year-over-year production decline is due to a 31.3% drop in the average expected yield to 1,030 lbs/acre.

Dry pea production is forecast at 2.62 million tonnes, down from 4.59 million last year and the lowest since 2.5 million in 2011. Harvested area is estimated down about 440,000 acres from last year to 3.72 million, while the average yield is seen falling to 25.9 bu/acre from 40.5 bu in 2020.

The lentil and dry pea production estimates fell on the low side of pre-report trade estimates that ranged from 1.8 million to 2.6 million, and 2.5 million to 3.8 million tonnes.

This year’s flax production is estimated at 425,500 tonnes, compared to 578,000 in 2020 and the smallest crop since 398,900 in 2011. Flax harvested area is projected about 70,000 acres higher from last year at 988,100 but the average yield is projected to fall to 16.6 bu/acre from 24.8 bu last year.

At just 63,000 tonnes, chickpea production is forecast down 70.6% from last year, potentially the smallest crop since 2004 (51,200 tonnes). Harvested are is expected down sharply at just 178,200 acres, while the average yield is seen down by about half at 780 lbs/acre.

Today’s report provided no production estimates for dry beans, canaryseed or sunflowers.

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