Pulse weekly outlook: Chickpea production expected up in 2021

MarketsFarm — Following an expected 11.4 per cent drop in Saskatchewan’s chickpea harvest this year, provincial pulse specialist Dale Risula is expecting an increase in 2021.

In Statistics Canada’s most recent field crop report, issued last week, chickpea production in Saskatchewan was estimated to have dropped from 224,600 tonnes in 2019 to 199,010 tonnes this year. The latter is up from the federal agency’s August estimate of 164,200 tonnes.

“It can be attributed to fewer acres grown this year than previous years,” Risula said, attributing that number to a growing carryover in Canada, due to a decline in exports to Pakistan and increased competition from Montana and other U.S. states.

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Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) pegged 2018-19 chickpea carryover at 100,000 tonnes and at 160,000 tonnes for 2019-20. Ending stocks for 2020-21 were forecast to be 150,000 tonnes.

Chickpea production in Montana and neighbouring states provided strong competition for Canada’s exports to the U.S., Risula said, but added that chickpea production in those states didn’t pan out as expected.

“In all likelihood, I think we’ll see more chickpeas here in Saskatchewan next year.”

Along with that, Risula said there could be more intercropping with chickpeas and flax. Together, the pulse and oilseed benefit each other by reducing disease and insect pressure; flax also aids maturity in chickpeas due to the release of nutrients.

As for this year’s chickpea harvest, the province put it at 69 per cent complete according to last week’s crop report. Risula noted most chickpeas have now been combined. Hot and dry weather this summer sped up the maturity in chickpeas, he said.

Chickpea production in Canada was down 4.9 per cent at 239,173 tonnes this year. Other than Saskatchewan, the only other province that produces enough chickpeas to be tabulated by Statistics Canada is Alberta, where production jumped 48.8 per cent to 40,163 tonnes.

Prairie Ag Hotwire reported Kabuli chickpeas 10 millimetres in size fetched 28-29 cents/lb. delivered, for an increase of a half cent over the last week. Nine-millimetre Kabulis garnered 27-28 cents/lb., also up a half cent. Eights were 23.5-25 cents/lb., and sevens brought in 20-21, both having gained a penny on the week.

— Glen Hallick reports for MarketsFarm from Winnipeg.

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