Prairie green pea prices still hover around record highs

Green pea prices across the Prairies are still hovering around record highs, despite a drop-off in demand.

According to Prairie Ag Hotwire, green pea prices in western Canada delivered to the elevator ranged from $13.25 to $15 per bushel on Monday (Jan. 14). This compares to month-ago prices of $13-$14 per bushel and year-ago values of $8.25 to $9.

Shawn Madsen, operations manager with Southland Pulse at Estevan, Sask., said green pea prices are so high despite sinking demand because supplies are extremely tight.

"It’s hard to find green peas and there are still some people that want to pay that price," he said.

Even though the price is strong, he noted, there’s not a lot of activity going on in the market. Farmers were moving a lot of their pea supplies in late December and just don’t have a lot left to move.

The lack of supply, along with strong prices will probably encourage producers across Western Canada to plant more green peas in the spring of 2013. Madsen said new-crop prices for green peas are in the $10 a bushel range, a level he thinks could be a record high.

"At $10 a bushel, people will try and grow as many green peas as they can," Madsen said.

But how many green peas get put in the ground in the spring will all depend on how much seed farmers manage to get their hands on, as there aren’t a lot of supplies around.

"Nobody really knows what that acreage number is going to increase to," said Madsen. "People would venture to guess it would double if seed sales would allow it to, but I don’t think they will."

In 2012-13, farmers in Western Canada planted 340,000 acres of green peas, according to data in the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers’ December 2012 pulse market report.

— Terryn Shiells writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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