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World to Canada: Pass the mustard

August 11, 2023, 11:00 a.m. (EDT)

You might like mustard on your hot dog, hamburger or deli sandwich, and the world can’t get enough of it either.

Canada was the world’s top exporter of mustard seeds in 2021. Growing conditions that year contributed to lower production and a global shortage.

Production up in 2022

In 2022, Canadian farmers planted 224 500 hectares of mustard seed, most of which were in Saskatchewan. A total of 218 600 hectares were harvested, and 161 781 tonnes were produced.

This was up from 2021, when 117 490 hectares were seeded, 110 411 were harvested and 60 532 tonnes were produced. The Census of Agriculture counted 646 farms that reported growing mustard seed in 2021, the lowest number on record and less than half of the 1,363 reporting farms in 2016.

The 319 300 tonnes of mustard seed produced in 1994 is the highest recorded since we started tracking production in 1951. Production has not come close since 306 400 tonnes in 1999 and 286 700 tonnes in 2004.

Fewer yields

Mustard seed yields have declined in recent years. The average yield of 548 kilograms per hectare in 2021 was the lowest level seen since 1961, when the yield was 350 kilograms per hectare.

Although the yield of 740 kilograms per hectare in 2022 was up from 2021, yields in recent years have not reached the 1,210 kilograms per hectare recorded in 2016. An all-time high of 1,230 kilograms per hectare was recorded in 1986.

Recent exports down

Despite exports of mustard seed declining 20.9% from 2021 to reach 86.4 million kilograms in 2022, the export value of $198.1 million was the highest on record, owing partially to the global shortage and high inflation. Most of the exports in 2022 were destined for the United States, though Belgium, Japan, and the Netherlands were also top destinations.

An all-time high of 260.9 million kilograms were exported in 1994, coinciding with record production numbers that year.

The export value of $198.1 million in 2022 was the highest on record, owing partially to the global shortage and high inflation.

Outlook for 2023

The 257 800 hectares seeded across Canada this year is a 14.8% increase from 2022 and more than double (+119.4%) the 117 490 hectares seeded in 2021.

The seeded area in 2023 is also the highest level since 2004, when 298 600 hectares were planted. The all-time high was recorded in 2003, when 339 800 hectares were seeded.

Farmers received $64.1 million in cash receipts for mustard seeds in the first quarter of 2023, down from $67.7 million a year earlier.

From January to June of this year, Canada exported 71.9 million kilograms of mustard seed, on pace to equal or surpass 2022 levels.

Final estimates of production, harvested area and yield for 2023 will be available in December.


On August 14, 2023, corrections were made to reflect revisions to annual 2022 export data, and year-to-date export data for 2023.

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Contact information

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