Quality of western Canadian mustard 2015

Weather and production review

Weather review

The 2015 growing season for mustard started positive with good subsoil moisture and an early spring. Seeding began end of April and by the first week in May one third of the crop was seeded in Saskatchewan. Early development was slow in the due to cold weather and frosts in the later part of May. Conditions continued to be unfavourable up until mid-July with low precipitation and above average temperatures. Timely rains from mid-July and into August allowed the crop to develop and mature. Although there were some delays in some regions due to re-growth following the mid-summer rains the harvest began at the end of August and was complete by the second week of October (Saskatchewan Crop Reports and Olds Products 2015 Crop Reports).

Temperature and precipitation patterns for the 2015 western Canadian growing season can be found on Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s web site.

Production and grade information

Mustard seed production decreased by approximately 38% from 2014 to 123.4 thousand metric tonnes. The decrease was a result of fewer hectares seeded combined with a decrease in yield. Yield was approximately 930 kilograms per hectare (Statistics Canada), which is lower than last year’s yield of 1010 kilograms per hectare but close to the 10-year average of 933 kilograms per hectare.

About 47% of mustard production in Saskatchewan was estimated to be yellow, 29% brown and 24% oriental according to Saskatchewan’s 2015 Specialty Crop Report. Saskatchewan accounted for 74% of western Canada’s total seeded area and nearly 74% of mustard production, while Alberta accounted for most of the remaining seeded area and production (Table 1).

This year 58% of samples were graded No. 1, in contrast to 73% in 2014 and 73% for the 10-year mean (2005-14). Growing and harvest conditions throughout the Prairies produced a mustard crop with some visible damage. However, conspicuous admixtures from weed seeds and foreign material were major factors in lowering the grades of samples received in 2015.

Seeded area and production for western Canadian mustardFootnote 1
  Seeded area Production Mean production
2015 2014 2015 2014 2005-2014
thousand hectares thousand tonnes thousand tonnes
Manitoba n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Saskatchewan 103.2 147.7 91.5 138.6 119.1
Alberta 36.4 54.6 31.9 59.4 37.8
Western Canada 139.6 202.3 123.4 198.0 156.9

Effects of weather on quality

The mustard crop grown in western Canada in 2015 showed general characteristics of a crop well matured. The Grain Research Laboratory’s long-term Harvest Sample Program results show that warm and dry growing conditions tend to produce an oilseed crop with lower oil but higher protein content and the converse is true for cool, moist conditions. Research also shows that total glucosinolate levels may increase when Brassica crops are grown under warmer than normal conditions.