There was little activity in the canola market to end the month of April, according to Barry Coleman, executive director of the Northern Canola Growers Association. Future prices closed at $462 per ton on April 29, which is pretty much unchanged from the last report, while cash prices ranged from $13.85 to $15.09 per hundredweight.

“If the futures market would get in the $470-$480 range, the market analysists would recommend future sales of old crop canola to the growers,” Coleman said. “Old crop supplies continue to remain quite large for canola, with uncertainty for demand. Most growers have delayed sales of old crop canola, hoping that prices will improve after spring planting is done.”

Despite the decline in canola oil sales due to reduced restaurant and food service business, the canola crush remains favorable, Coleman noted, since the crush pace has seemed to maintain quite well. Stats Canada reported that 881,000 tons of canola were crushed in March, which was the highest volume in three months, also noting the market is experiencing a depressed price level due to COVID-19. They report crush levels are at 6.7 million tons this year and could surpass the 10 million ton mark for the first time ever this marketing year.

We also need to see an improvement in the energy markets. The current low prices have resulted in a sluggish vegetable-oil market.

A lot of growers are also waiting for USDA to announce the aid package that will be made to farmers in regards to the COVID-19 pandemic. That announcement should be forthcoming sometime in May, and should take into consideration the inventory of 2019 crops still on the farm.

“I think it is safe to say that there will be some assistance coming to help with the price situation for a lot of commodities,” he said.

About 5 percent of the crop has been planted, all in the southwestern part of the state, Coleman said. Farmers are still planning to plant their earlier predicted acreage of canola, with estimates of two percent more to two percent less acres than originally thought. Canola acreage is Canada is also expected to remain steady from last year to down a little.

Finally, growers are reminded to vigilant for flea beetles as the weather becomes warmer and the seedling canola crop emerges. Damage can be quite heavy at the early growth stages.