Canary Seed Development Commission of Saskatchewan


April 26, 2010

Canary Seed market could be oversupplied

If Saskatchewan producers follow through on the seeding intentions reported by Statistics Canada, canary seed prices are likely to decline from their current levels. Last year, Saskatchewan farmers seeded 300,000 acres. Seeding intentions for this year are at 510,000 acres according to the Statistics Canada report released today.

Producers are turning to canary seed because price prospects are poor for many other crops including wheat, durum, barley and field peas. With current canary seed prices at 15 to 17 cents a pound, the crop looks like an attractive option. However, over 500,000 acres combined with an average yield would produce more canary seed than the market can consume. (As of the end of May, 2010 canary seed prices had declined to around 13 cents a pound.)

The Canary Seed Development Commission of Saskatchewan (CSDCS) addresses these concerns in its newsletter which will be in the hands of growers shortly. Market analyst Greg Kostal has produced a template for the newsletter showing canary seed production at various acreage and yield assumptions. This is combined with a supply and demand analysis to estimate price levels.

The CSDCS continues to work towards human food uses of the crop and the commission is excited by the medium to long term prospects. However, in the short term, the market for canary seed will be almost exclusively as birdseed. Therefore, worldwide canary seed demand is likely to remain relatively constant.

Saskatchewan is the world’s top producer and exporter of canary seed, so price direction is largely determined by how much is produced in the province.

Producers face difficult cropping choices as they attempt to maintain profitability, but the CSDCS is cautioning producers that too many canary seed acres may lead to disappointing price levels for an extended period of time.

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