Quality of western Canadian flaxseed 2012

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, which included excess moisture, heat stress and extreme winds.

Seeding occurred earlier than normal in most of the flax growing regions (Southern Manitoba and South Eastern Saskatchewan) due to warmer and dryer conditions in April and May.  Extreme winds in early May caused wind damage to newly emerged seedlings in parts of the Prairie Provinces. 

Hot dry conditions persisted though out most of the growing season with daily maximum temperatures ranging from +25 degrees Celsius to +34 degrees Celsius in July and August and less than 10 mm of precipitation when compared to average monthly precipitation in July and August. 

The warm and dry conditions continued through out August allowing for harvest to commence earlier than normal.  Well over 50% of the flax crop was harvested by mid September. 

Weather maps for the whole growing season can be found at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada web site.

Production and grade information

Western Canadian farmers seeded 397 thousand hectares of flaxseed in 2012 (Table 3), which is an increase when compared to 2011 (300 thousand hectares).  The 2012 yield estimate of 1,300 kg/ha was lower than the yield reported in 2011 (1,400 kg/ha) and higher than the 10-year mean of 1,238 kg/ha.  Western Canada flaxseed production had an overall increase of 100 thousand metric tonnes when compared to last year’s 389, thousand metric tonnes. Flaxseed production increased in Manitoba to 66 thousand metric tonnes, Saskatchewan to 381 thousand metric tonnes but in Alberta production decreased to 42 thousand metric tonnes when compared to 2011 production values as shown in Statistics Canada Table 001-0010- Estimated areas, yield, production.  Saskatchewan accounted for 78% of flaxseed production while Manitoba and Alberta had 14% and 9%, respectively.

Over 97% of the samples received for the 2012 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 production
2012 2011 2012 2011 2002-2011
thousand hectares thousand tonnes thousand tonnes
Manitoba 63 55 66 55 148
Saskatchewan 314 217 381 279 546
Alberta 20 28 42 55 42
Western Canada 397 300 489 389 727


Footnote 1

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 001-0010 - Estimated areas, yield, production and average farm price of principal field crops, in metric units, annual, CANSIM (database).

Return to footnote 1 referrer