Canadian rye production could fall 25 per cent: analyst

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 The Scoular Company 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 once the crop is in the bin, some farmers may discover the situation is less dire than that, but that is what they are saying now.

He said ergot problems were particularly pronounced around the Carman, Man. area.

In 2016, Canadian farmers harvested 436,000 tonnes of rye; they harvested 225,500 tonnes in 2015, 217,500 tonnes in 2014, 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.

Last fall, farmers planted 201,200 acres, 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 in the country 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 data.

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