canola field pic

After several months of trading in a range bound market, the canola futures market in recent weeks spurted ahead by about $10 a ton and is now being quoted at $461 a ton, according to Barry Coleman, executive director of the Northern Canola Growers Association.

Likewise, local crush plant prices were stronger than two weeks ago, trading in a range of $14.69 to $15.14 a hundredweight, which is up about 40 cents from the markets to start the month.

The latest weekly crop report from the National Ag Statistics Service listed about 20 percent of the state’s canola as still out in the field, when normally about 1 percent remains to be harvested at this time.

“The unharvested canola is in the northern tier of counties,” Coleman said. “I haven’t heard of any sprout damage to the unharvested crop yet. Most of that crop is still standing because of the straight-cut harvest method, although there is a small amount that has been swathed.”

The USDA’s latest production report issued in October estimated canola production in North Dakota at 3.21 billion pounds, which will be another record, according to Coleman.

“We think it might end up being just a little over 3 billion pounds because their acreage number is a little higher than what was actually planted according to Farm Service Agency actual acreage information. The abandonment might be a little bit higher than usual, but will still be a record number of acres,” he said. “Their yield prediction is right in line with what we are predicting and hearing from producer reports – a 1,900 pound average yield in the state.”

In export news, sources to fill China’s need for canola in light of their cancelling of all imports from Canada have not developed as expected. As a result, there is a question where China is going to get the 3.4 million tons of canola they are forecasted to need. Coleman noted there have been challenging growing conditions in Australia and usually North America supplies the bulk of the Chinese needs.

“Traders think that eventually China is going to have to come to the market place and grab that canola from North America,” Coleman said.

The port at Thunder Bay, Canada, has seen a large increase in export numbers this year. Last year at this time they had shipped out 19,000 tons of canola. However, figures for this year total 129,000 tons, with most of that going to the European Union, which has seen decreased canola production within its borders.

In other canola news, Senator John Hoeven recently announced that USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded a $292,830 grant to North Dakota State University for canola research. The goal of the award will be to enhance canola production and profitability in the Norther Plains region.

“This funding will help NDSU inform our farmers how to best optimize the use of seeds and herbicides leading to increased profitability,” Hoeven said. “As North Dakota remains a top canola producer in this country, it’s vital we utilize advancements in research and technology to increase our competitive edge.”

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