Prairie pea prices recovering following harvest pressure

As Western Canada’s dry pea harvest wraps up, prices have started to slightly recover, but Jackie Kress, senior grain manager for Legumex Walker, said some pressure will remain due to an extremely large crop.

“It’ll be a supply-and-demand situation, so with the supply that’s out there, it puts pressure on prices still,” she said. Prices “have been moving in a slightly downward trend, simply because there is a tremendous amount of supply. This is fairly typical.”

According to Statistics Canada’s Oct. 4 crop production report, pea production was pegged at 3.781 million tonnes, up from 3.303 million tonnes in the previous report. If that number holds up, that would make the 2013-14 pea crop the biggest in Canadian history.

“The yields that we’ve been hearing have been good,” Kress said. “It was expected to be a good yield, and it has been a good yield.”

Despite good yields and large production, yellow and green peas delivered to elevators are up 30 cents, Prairie Ag Hotwire’s Oct. 9 report showed.

But with India seeing a decline in their currency, demand for Canadian peas could be reduced this year, which could limit the market’s upside.

“When there’s a currency situation, it always makes it more challenging for them to purchase imported productions,” Kress said. “It would have a direct reflection on demand.”

Adding to reduced demand from India are expectations of record pulse production. After producing 18.5 million tonnes of pulses in 2012-13, the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council (PMEAC) said pulse production in India for this season would be over 20 million tonnes, which would cut India’s need for imports.

As of Wednesday, delivered-to-elevator greens were as high as $10.30 per bushel, with yellows topping out at $7 per bushel, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire.

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

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