Quebec rye production on the rise

Rye production was up in Quebec in 2018 and one reason was producers have been supplying hybrid rye for feed to the province’s hog industry.

“Feed was coming from out west, but now we’re starting to produce the seed itself here,” said André Lussier, who farms near St. Hyacinthe, Que. and is a director with the Canadian Seed Growers’ Association.

He said Quebec producers were getting more than C$5 per bushel for their hybrid rye on contracts for next year.

According to the latest data from Statistics Canada’s Production of Principal Field Crops, released Dec. 6, Quebec produced 17,800 tonnes of rye this year. That was an increase of almost 19 per cent over last year and it was the province’s second largest rye crop on record.

“I think there are two reasons why it went up. The first one is there is a very large increase in the use of cover crops. We used to grow grass and people are switching to rye,” Lussier said.

The other reason he cited was hybrid rye has provided Quebec farmers with good yields by surviving their winters quite well.

Greg Stamps of Stamps Seeds in Enchant, Alta, which has been working with Quebec’s La Coop Federee, suggested another reason for Quebec farmers having turned to rye – using the straw as bedding for animals.

“Straw is pretty valuable in Quebec. They don’t grow a lot of stuff they can bed animals with,” he said.

Rye production in Quebec ranked fifth in the country, according to Statistics Canada. In second was Ontario, which witnessed a 29 percent increase in rye production for 67,800 tonnes in 2018.

Stamps suggested the longer growing season in Eastern Canada may have played into boosting their rye production.

The amount of fall rye seeded this year in Quebec jumped by more than 26 percent to 39,000 acres according to Statistics Canada. As for Quebec’s winter wheat, there was a drop of over 10 percent to 45,500 acres seeded.

It was a little different in Ontario, with its fall rye acres planted this autumn slipped by 20 percent to 91,500 acres. However, it’s still projected to be one of the province’s largest fall rye crops in 16 years according to Statistics Canada. Also in Ontario, winter wheat acres climbed by 3.5 percent to 1,003,400 acres.

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