Pulse weekly outlook: StatsCan’s pea, chickpea acres short of trade expectations

MarketsFarm — Numbers were seen as disappointing for dry peas and chickpeas in Statistics Canada’s survey-based principal field crop planting projections released Tuesday.

The federal agency predicted 3.839 million acres seeded for dry peas nationwide, nearly a 10 per cent decline compared to last year. By comparison, MarketsFarm projected 4.38 million acres while Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) projected 4.32 million acres in its monthly report released April 20.

StatsCan also projected a 24 per cent decline in seeded acres for chickpeas from last year, at 212,000 acres, compared to AAFC’s prediction of 247,100 acres.

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Saskatchewan provincial pulse specialist Dale Risula speculated that the projected decline in dry pea acres may have to do with crop disease issues.

“Issues with what they call root rot… aphanomyces,” he said. “That is fairly widespread throughout (Saskatchewan) and it is having a detrimental effect for yield for peas. Chances are growers are reducing their acres for peas to reduce that problem.”

As for chickpeas, Risula blames reduced demand from last year.

“Chickpea acres will likely be down this year because of reduced marketing that took place from last year’s crop. A lot of chickpeas that were produced last year were difficult to market on because of a demand fall,” he said.

U.S. demand for chickpeas relied on that country’s own crop rather than imports, he added.

StatsCan’s projected number of acres for lentils was at 4.218 million acres — a 0.3 per cent decline from last year — compared to MarketsFarm’s prediction of 4.32 million and AAFC’s estimate of 4.2 million.

Seeding for dry beans is expected to total 414,000 acres, for a 9.4 per cent decline from 2020-21, where AAFC predicted 395,300 acres.

Risula expects demand, as well as prices, to stay where they are over the next few months. He also believes seeding projections will hold over the same period.

“It’s close enough in the seeding season where a lot of producers will have already stored lots of their seed and have their plans in place,” he said. “It’s more difficult to change plans now than it would’ve been earlier.”

— Adam Peleshaty reports for MarketsFarm from Stonewall, Man.

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