If Statistics Canada is correct, and that’s a big if, canaryseed supplies are very tight. In fact, it’s tough to see how Canada will serve all of its international customers. Yes, sales to Mexico, our largest customer, are largely curtailed right now, but even without sales to Mexico, our supply looks very small.
In its September estimate of field crop production released October 4, Statistics Canada made major upward revisions to 2010 production levels. Without this, their canaryseed inventory number would have been negative.
Stat Can originally pegged last year’s seeded area at 295,000 acres with a yield of 811 pounds per acre. In the September report, that was revised upwards to 365,000 acres and a yield of 890 pounds. As a result, the production number has gone from roughly 102,000 tonnes to over 143,000.
That’s a huge revision and it would normally be negative for the market. However, I suspect the reason for the revision is that Stat Can has been underestimating farmer-stored inventory and now they’re forced to play catch up to make the numbers work.
For 2011, Stat Can has the seeded acreage down to just 190,000. The average yield is pegged at 944 pounds per acre for a total production of just 77,100 tonnes. Even in the big drought years, we’ve been producing more than that.
For August 1, 2011, the Stat Can estimate of canaryseed beginning stocks is a mere 39,000 tonnes. Add to this the estimated crop of 77,100 tonnes and you get a total supply of just 116,100 tonnes.
Yearly exports over the past five years have ranged from a low of 152,000 tonnes to a high of 204,000 tonnes. If Stat Can is even close to being right, international customers will be hard pressed to buy all the canaryseed they want over the next year.