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Flax prices likely to remain flat

WINNIPEG, (MarketsFarm) – Although the autumn snowfall limited the quality of a lot of Prairie flax, its price has remained flat, according to Brian Johnson of Johnson Seeds in Arborg, Man.

While Johnson has seen some instances of number one flax, he said most of what he’s seen has been number two and number three.

“The premiums are higher than normal between number one and number two,” he said, noting Johnson Seeds has been paying the same price since November.

Part of the price flatness has been the lack of exports to China, said Johnson.

Data from the Canadian Grain Commission shows 17,700 tonnes of flax has been sent to China as of November 2019. The same time in the previous marketing year, China imported 63,000 tonnes.

Also, flax production was up in the United States and farmers there were able to get most their crop off of the field, unlike Prairie farmers.

Figures from the U.S. Department of Agriculture show there was a 43.2 per cent jump in flax production from 2018/19 to 2019/20, with farmers reaping more than 162,400 tonnes.

Should demand for Canadian flax increase, then Johnson said prices will improve. However that is very difficult to forecast.

Prices obtained by Prairie Ag Hotwire found flax was going for C$12 to C$15 per bushel delivered in Saskatchewan. In Manitoba, flax was C$12.77 per bushel delivered and C$12.25 to C$13.50 in Alberta.

Canadian farmers produced about 486,100 tonnes of flax in 2019, according to Statistics Canada. That continued the decline in flax production in the country that’s seen a 50 per cent drop compared to 2015.

Of 2019’s crop, 359,200 tonnes were grown in Saskatchewan, with 81,500 tonnes in Alberta and 42,300 in Manitoba. There was nominal production in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.

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