Quality of western Canadian flaxseed 2016 - Weather and production

Weather review, seeding and growing conditions

The 2016 growing season for flaxseed growers began with a concern about the lack of soil moisture. The early dry spring allowed seeding to being in early May so by the end of May nearly 86% of the crop was seeded. The crop was developing well in June because of timely rains and warmer than average temperatures. In July we had above average precipitation and cooler temperatures giving the promise for above average flaxseed yields. By the end of July over 90% of the crop was considered either good or excellent in Saskatchewan. The flaxseed harvest started in mid-September but was slowed by rains so by mid-October only 50% of the crops were harvested in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. The second week in October saw significant rain and snow in Saskatchewan, Alberta and some parts of Manitoba which stalled the progress of the harvest for several weeks. With warm, dry weather in November harvesting advanced but still significant percentage of the crop remained in the field.

Sources: Crop Report, Saskatchewan Agriculture, Crop Report, Manitoba Agriculture, Crop Report, Alberta Agriculture

Temperature and precipitation patterns for the 2016 western Canadian growing season can be found on Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Production and grade information

Western Canadian farmers seeded 378 thousand hectares of flaxseed in 2016 (Table 3), which is a significant decrease compared to 2015 (665 thousand hectares). The 2016 yield estimate of 1,700 kilograms per hectare was higher than the yield reported in 2015 (1,500 kilograms per hectare) and higher than the 10-year mean of 1,390 kilograms per hectare. Flaxseed production decreased by 363.2 thousand metric tonnes from last year’s 942.3 thousand metric tonnes. In Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta production decreased to 50,800, 473,700 and 54,600 metric tonnes, respectively when compared to 2015 production values (Statistics Canada). Saskatchewan accounted for 81.8% of flaxseed production while Manitoba and Alberta had 8.8% and 9.4%, respectively.

Over 86% of the samples received for the Canadian Grain Commission’s 2016 Harvest Sample Program were graded as Flaxseed, No. 1 Canada Western at the time of our quality analysis. This percentage is expected to go down as late harvested, ‘snowed-on’ flaxseeds are analyzed. The primary reason for grade reduction in this year was because of low test weights.

Table 3, Seeded area and production for western Canadian flaxseedFootnote1
Region Seeded area Production Average production
2016 2015 2016 2015 2006 to 2015
Thousand hectares Thousand tonnes Thousand tonnes
Manitoba 34 51 50.8 71.1 105.8
Saskatchewan 316 567 473.7 787.4 570.6
Alberta 28 47 54.6 83.8 48.6
Canada 378 665 579.1 942.3 725
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