This year’s Canadian rye harvest appears positioned to carry on the crop’s recent trend with another production decline.
Dry conditions in many regions of the Prairies and ergot in Manitoba are expected to drive down yields.
Jonathan Hull of Scoular Co. said he has been hearing from farmers that yields could be off by 25 to 30 percent compared to 2017, when 323,800 tonnes were harvested.
“It’s still pretty early for actual, actual yields, but farmers I talk to say it will be off that much.”
He said some farmers may discover the situation is less dire than that once the crop is in the bin, but that is what they are saying now.
Ergot problems were particularly pronounced near Carman, Man., he added.
Canadian farmers harvested 436,000 tonnes of rye in 2016, compared to 225,500 tonnes in 2015, 217,500 tonnes in 2014 and 222,900 in 2013.
Hull said growers have overproduced for the last two years, so this year’s decline comes as no surprise.
“It was overproduced and so prices hit a low and then last year we ran into just moisture issues during planting, so less people seeded,” he said.
Farmers planted 201,200 acres last fall, according to Statistics Canada. That compares with 259,800 acres for the 2017 growing season and 370,540 acres for 2016.
Manitoba is the leading rye-producing province with 114,300 tonnes harvested last year, compared to 113,000 tonnes in Saskatchewan, 48,000 tonnes in Ontario and 33,500 tonnes in Alberta, according to Statistics Canada.