Quality of western Canadian flaxseed 2011

Weather and production review

Weather review, seeding and growing conditions

This year's growing season was characterized by extremes in weather conditions across the western prairies. In May and June the southern parts of the prairies experienced excessive amounts of precipitation with greater than 60 mm of rain in some areas, flooding out important flax growing regions of southern Manitoba and south eastern Saskatchewan. In contrast the central and northern parts of the Prairie Provinces remained relatively dry with less than 30-40 mm of precipitation. The average monthly mean temperatures for May was 1-2 degrees below average in the southern part of the prairies while central and north western Alberta experienced 1-2 degrees above normal temperatures.

In July and August, the southern regions were relatively warm and dry with less than 20 mm of precipitation while central and northern regions were cool and wet with 20-30 mm of precipitation in some areas and 60 mm precipitation in north central Alberta.

The month of September was 3-4 degrees above normal monthly mean temperatures, but a severe frost was reported in mid September. The warm dry weather continued into October allowing for 90 percent of harvest to be completed by the first week of October.

Weather and Crop Surveillance department of the Canadian Wheat Board and AAFC provided the majority of the detailed weather review for the 2011 crop year.

Production and grade information

Western Canadian farmers seeded 281 thousand hectares to flaxseed in 2011 (Table 3), which is a decrease when compared to 2010 (374 thousand hectares). The 2011 yield estimate of 1,300 kg/ha was higher than the yield reported in 2010 (1,200 kg/ha) and higher than the 10-year mean of 1,205 kg/ha. Western Canada flaxseed production had an overall decrease to 368 thousand metric tonnes when compared to last year's 423, thousand metric tonnes. Flaxseed production decreased in Manitoba to 38 thousand metric tonnes, Saskatchewan to 279 thousand metric tonnes but in Alberta production increased to 51 thousand metric tonnes when compared to 2010 production values as shown in Field Crop Reporting Series No. 8, November estimates. Saskatchewan accounted for 76% of flaxseed production while Manitoba and Alberta had 10% and 14%, respectively.

Over 98% of the samples received for the 2011 CGC Harvest Survey were graded as Flaxseed, No. 1 CW.

Table 3. Seeded area and production for western Canadian flaxseed
Province Seeded area Production1 Average production2
2011 2010 2011 2010 2001-2010
thousand hectares thousand tonnes thousand tonnes
1 Source: Field Crop Reporting Series, No. 8, December 6, 2011; Statistics Canada
2 Source: Field Crop Reporting Series, revised final estimates for 2001-2010
Manitoba 38 71 38 81 162
Saskatchewan 217 287 279 311 567
Alberta 26 16 51 31 29
Western Canada 281 374 368 423 758