AmeriFlax is the trade organization that represents North Dakota flax producers. The organization is funded by flax check-off dollars from the North Dakota Oilseed Council. Our purpose is to increase the use and sale of U.S.-grown flax and by-products in domestic and foreign markets. AmeriFlax guides programs on public relations, advertising, nutrition research, market research and consumer and industrial education.
Some market firms have advised selling a quarter to a third of your 2018 production at prices of $10 per bushel as cash prices have ticked higher this summer. Traders do note, though, that there is no reason for flax prices to go down.
Forecasts for U.S. production are down significantly from past years as flax acres have taken a back seat to other crops. Total planted acreage in 2018 was forecast at 168,000 acres in USDA’s June 30 Acreage Report, just over half of last year’s acres. However, in reviewing the September Farm Service Agency Crop Acreage Data, https://www.fsa.usda.gov/news-room/efoia/electronic-reading-room/frequently-requested-information/crop-acreage-data/index, North Dakota flax acres came in at just over 150,000, which is 40,000 acres higher than the June 30 USDA estimate.
This recent FSA report indicates total U.S. flax acreage at 208,000. Given normal acreage abandonment, if yields average 22 bushels per acre, this will result in total production of 4.5 million bushels, 18 percent higher than last year’s drought impacted production, but half the production from 2016. Actual yields will not be known until USDA publishes its Annual Crop Production Report in January. Those actual numbers will be posted on this website when published.
In Canada, Stats Canada estimates planted acres of 856,800. This will result in 19.4 million bushels, down 11 percent from last year’s 21.8 million bushels. This is below trade expectations following a revision lower in planted acres. This estimate may increase as much of Canadian flax was grown in areas that received good moisture this season.
Decreased North American production has been price supportive, resulting in prices in this region higher than the rest of the world. Marketers do note that this does not indicate a topping in the flax market, rather an opportunity to sell a portion of this year’s production at a level that has met resistance in recent years.
Two statistical reporting agencies in Canada differ in their estimate of flax carryout levels for this year’s crop. In its August 17th Outlook for Principal Field Crops Report, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) reported ending stocks to be 85,000 mt. More recently, Stats Canada reported ending stocks will likely be just 67,000 mt, 21% lower than AAFC’s estimate! This ending stock level is considered very tight.