Canadian Canary Seed

Singing for supper

There's just something cheerful about birds: a canary trilling in a sunny bay window, a budgerigar clowning on its perch, an outdoor feeder with a throng of finches chattering like a family reunion. Having birds around makes us feel good, which is why people everywhere love to keep them as pets or watch them in the wild.

It's also why the world needs huge amounts of canary seed - more than 250,000 tonnes are produced every year, almost all of which goes to nourish the myriads of birds that provide human beings with so much pleasure. When used in feed, it's usually combined with seeds such as millet, sunflower, niger, buckwheat and flax to suit the nutritional needs and palates of particular species of birds.

Both wild and tame birds eat better because of Canada, which is the world's biggest producer and exporter of canary seed. As a crop, canary is a tall grass that prefers long, warm days and cool nights, making it perfectly suited to the climate of the Canadian prairies; about 90 percent of Canada's canary seed is grown in Saskatchewan, with the balance coming from Manitoba and Alberta. We normally harvest it in September and early October, and store it carefully to ensure that it retains its high quality.

A better birdseed

Traditionally, Canada has produced the Keet and Elias varieties of canary seed. They are unpleasant for producers, packagers and processors to handle because they have tiny hairs that break away from the seeds and cause severe itching. To solve this problem, Canadian researchers have developed a new, hairless variety called Canario™, which has been commercially produced since 1997.

Canario™ is expected to replace traditional canary seed over the next few years, because it maintains the high protein content of the traditional varieties but is less uncomfortable to handle. Canario™ also increases the volume of seed per shipping container by 12 percent, and eliminates the oiling and processing steps that are needed with less advanced varieties.

For birdseed processors and packagers, this makes Canario™ the canary seed of choice, especially because it's subject to strict quality standards based on those used for commercially pedigreed Canadian seeds. Canario™ must be 97 percent hairless in order to bear the Canario™ trademark, which is the processor's guarantee of purity.

Experience the Canadian difference

If birds could talk, they'd ask for Canadian canary seed. For further information on Canada's canary seed industry, please visit:

Government websites

Industry website


Trade Statistics

The following tables represent Canada's total trade in a given export commodity based on Statistics Canada data. The product categories represent HS code groupings and have not been modified. In most cases, statistics have been presented at the 6 or 8 digit level. Statistics are presented in Canadian dollars and are complete through year end 2010.

Canada's Exports to All Countries - (HS Code 100830) - ($CAD)
  2007 2008 2009 2010 Growth 2007-2010
Canary seed 94,177,347 134,425,606 89,878,824 103,281,973 9.7%

Canada's Exports to All Countries (HS Code 100830) - (Quantity, KGM)
  2007 2008 2009 2010 Growth 2007-2010
Canary seed 185,078,317 181,148,128 153,554,757 178,440,890 -3.6%

Canada's Monthly Exports to All Countries
(HS Code 100830, Value $CAD)
Month 2007 2008 2009 2010
Jan 5,662,442 8,517,160 5,541,343 7,622,339
Feb 4,849,950 8,314,756 5,992,397 9,408,596
Mar 6,049,016 10,498,933 7,940,968 11,815,109
Apr 5,474,425 18,515,279 7,295,108 12,899,848
May 9,881,463 14,409,286 6,741,120 12,348,342
Jun 8,672,372 16,823,204 11,985,032 10,506,026
Jul 9,706,051 11,173,061 7,998,781 3,950,105
Aug 8,353,455 12,766,386 8,020,983 5,615,365
Sep 6,429,679 9,101,189 5,070,655 7,606,177
Oct 9,210,253 10,599,813 13,186,558 9,942,670
Nov 13,093,911 6,103,601 5,534,382 6,401,783
Dec 6,794,330 7,602,938 4,571,497 5,165,613
TOTAL 94,177,347 134,425,606 89,878,824 103,281,973

Canada's Exports to All Countries by Province
(HS Code 100830, Value $CAD)
Province 2007 2008 2009 2010
Alberta 3,192,790 2,101,808 1,533,770 592,703
British Columbia 2,220,735 2,090,040 599,168 582,117
Manitoba 8,025,175 6,351,831 4,072,222 5,841,319
New Brunswick 3,708 0 0 0
Nova Scotia 0 0 11,955 10,610
Ontario 656,944 745,829 442,112 9,314,619
Québec 2,611,319 7,468,857 3,545,977 3,687,328
Saskatchewan 77,466,676 115,667,241 79,673,620 83,253,277

Canada's Top 10 Canary Seed Markets
(HS Code 100830, Value $CAD)
Country 2007 2008 2009 2010 Growth 2007-2010
TOTAL: 94,177,347 134,425,606 89,878,824 103,281,973 9.7%
Mexico 20,702,640 31,520,727 24,187,725 19,211,147 -7.2%
Belgium 15,529,694 19,082,636 12,277,360 18,150,003 16.9%
Brazil 14,201,580 25,293,019 8,065,485 11,714,941 -17.5%
Colombia 7,120,682 8,121,846 6,425,329 7,847,056 10.2%
Spain 7,105,810 8,628,309 6,758,569 7,493,562 5.5%
United States 6,637,858 9,526,144 5,824,006 6,634,362 -0.1%
Venezuela 2,969,540 5,491,847 2,135,785 5,562,774 87.3%
Italy 1,694,912 2,575,193 2,776,263 3,544,426 109.1%
Peru 3,488,100 2,462,862 2,527,398 2,894,240 -17.0%
Portugal 2,306,095 3,113,111 2,358,431 2,797,228 21.3%