Pea crop not quite as big as expected

Canada’s pea crop may be record-large this year, but some industry officials expected it to be even bigger than what Statistics Canada estimated in its production report on Dec. 4.

StatsCan pegged Canadian pea production for 2013-14 at 3.849 million tonnes in the Dec. 4 report, up from the 3.341 million grown in 2012-13.

“I was looking at a little bit bigger of a crop, probably around four million tonnes,” said Chuck Penner, founder of LeftField Commodity Research in Winnipeg. “We saw spectacular gains for canola and wheat yields, and peas just did well, not surprisingly well.”

The split between yellow and green peas, he added, was also a little bit different than he anticipated.

“In June, StatsCan made an estimate of seeded acres of green and yellow peas. So, I had been using that as the basis of my production forecasts,” he said. “And now, in this last report, they came back and they moved a few acres out of greens into yellows. So, the yellow crop was a little bit bigger yet than what I had expected earlier and the green a little bit smaller.”

Because Canadian production for green and yellow peas is up over last year, supplies will be comfortable for both crops this year. The U.S. also produced a larger pea crop, and the combination will likely keep prices for greens and yellows from rallying “much, if it all for this year,” said Penner.

“Got out the door”

But pea prices may not see the same kind of downward pressure as other crops have from the logistical problems in Canada, Penner added.

“Most green peas move by container, so they kind of bypass a lot of that,” he said. “And, with yellow peas, we got a whole bunch of them out the door early before the other crops were harvested.”

The yellow pea market will be paying attention to what happens in India, as they are currently planting their winter pulse crop, and what happens there will affect Canadian prices.

“It looks like acres might be up (in India), but it’s gotten a little drier there recently too,” said Penner. “So we’re not sure how it’s all going to turn out.”

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