2009 Flax Update Courtesy of Wild Oats Publishing
Flax is still selling at a premium to canola but the writing is on the wall. Prices have been dropping, slowly, since there isn’t a lot of international trade or flax being delivered off farms. Now some elevators are pulling their flax bids thinking product will be cheaper down the road and not wanting to insult farmers with low-ball bids.
Canadian production will be 915,000 tonnes this year, assuming the crop comes off. That’s up from 861,000 last year and 634,000 in 2007. Meanwhile demand is steady, at best. The pet food market is holding it’s own and the human edible market is always there but industrial use is very soggy. With most of the world in dire financial straights there is little new industrial or residential building. Thus demand for linoleum is weak.
Flax prices have been weakening for months, but quietly on light trade. There has been little business written for fall shipment. Regular European users are being supplied with Eastern European flax. They have little interest in importing from.
A few processors are still offering $10 for flax but these bids are getting harder to find.
There are 275,000 tonnes of flax in-store in western , mostly in farmer hands.
Wild Oats does not normally start selling prior to the start of harvest and, this year, for flax, that will be mid September. However if you’re sitting on old crop your changes of better prices are largely limited to an early frost. That, of course, is not out of the question but the current heat is bringing crops along nicely.
One longer-term positive aspect of flax markets is the that the rest of the world is catching up to the health benefits of omega vegoils, of which flax is the main component. Specialty human-edible flax is the product to be holding.
North Dakota State University and the USDA have developed several flaxseed varieties to help flax thrive in various soils and climates and to produce brown and yellow seed to enhance marketability. United States flax acreage reached 767,000 harvested acres and a total production of 11.0 million bushels in 2006. Ninety-three percent of the flax was grown in North Dakota with 715,000 acres harvested. Production in North Dakota totaled 10.4 million bushels and the yield per acre was 14.5 bushels.