You know when the crop checker leaves a handwritten note in the field, weighted down with a rock, and signed with “XOXO” that your field peas are in good hands. Not everyone would put this amount of feeling into checking crop conditions, so when I found this note on the edge of a southern Alberta field the other day, I figured this field of peas was not only getting sunshine, moisture and proper fertility, it was also being grown with love.
And speaking of peas — what? Was there a fire sale on pea seed this year? I haven’t seen this many pea/pulse crop fields on a road trip in a long time. In checking crops with my 2012 Dodge Ram road drone it appears many farms were following a peas/cereals/canola/peas—is-there-room-for-another-field-of-peas-somewhere rotation. It is a popular crop out there this year.
According to some late spring seeding reports, it is estimated there were about 4.3 million acres of peas seeded in 2016 in Western Canada. All the pulse crops were heavily favoured in light of strong market demand for protein.
The overall pulse crop is estimated to be at about 9.52 million acres, up about 23 per cent from last year. Lenitl acres at 5.14 million acres and field peas at 4.28 million acres. Canola was taking the hit with a drop of about five per cent to 19.34 million acres. The all-wheat area is down about one per cent.
I don’t know if this surge in pulse crop acres can be totally credited to the fact that 2016 is also the International Year of the Pulse Crop…a bit of bad weather in some of the major pulse growing/consuming parts of the world doesn’t hurt either. As they say every cloud has a silver lining — perhaps every pea fields needs an XOXO crop checker.
Lee Hart is a field editor with Grainews based in Calgary. Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected] (The chart was published on the Sask Pulse Growers website.