U.S. Flax Production Up; Other Special Crops Mixed

U.S. flax production was up sharply in 2019, despite weaker yields.

In its annual crop production summary released Friday, the USDA pegged national flax output at 162,440 tonnes, up 43% from a year earlier. All of the increase was due to a larger harvested area - up 61% to 319,000 acres - which offset a 2.6-bu reduction in the average yield to 22 bu/acre.

Despite the increase, American flax production remains well below that north of the border. In its December crop production report, Statistics Canada estimated this country’s 2019 flax crop at about 486,000 tonnes, down just slightly from 492,000 a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the USDA reported 2019 American mustard seed production at 28,840 tonnes, down 13% from a year ago but still the sixth largest crop on record. Mustard planted area, at 98,000 acres, was down just 4,500 acres from 2018. Harvested area, at 90,000 acres, was down 8% from a year earlier. The average yield, at 706 lbs/acre, was 43 pounds below the 2018 average yield.

In changes from December, the USDA lowered its 2019 sunflower production estimate to 881,530 tonnes from 1.02 million – likely the result of poor fall weather and a difficult harvest on the northern Plains. If accurate, the 2019 crop would be down 8% from the previous year. At 1,562 lbs/acre, the average 2019 U.S. sunflower yield was down 169 lbs from 2018, while planted area, at 1.35 million acres, was 4% above the previous year. Area harvested increased 2% from 2018 to 1.24 million acres.

U.S. production of oil-type sunflower varieties decreased 7% from 2018, while production of non-oil sunflower varieties fell 10% from 2018.

The size of the 2019 U.S. lentil crop was also revised lower from December, down to 244,400 tonnes from 297,240, and well below the 2018 crop of 381,380 tonnes. U.S. lentil planted area, at 486,000 acres, was down 38% from last year, but the average yield is estimated at 1,250 lbs/acre, up 79 from 2018.

At 1.01 million tonnes, the U.S. dry pea production estimate was little changed from last month but up sharply from 722,530 tonnes in 2018. Planted area, at 1.10 million acres, and harvested area, at 1.05 million acres, increased by 26% and 28%, The average yield is estimated at 2,124 pounds per acre, up 143 pounds from 2018 and the highest since 2004.

Dry bean production was trimmed to 943,970 tonnes from 1.08 million in December and remains well down from 1.7 million in 2018. Harvested area increased 3% from a year earlier to 126,500 acres, but the average yield declined by 223 lbs to 1,558 lbs.

Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.

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