Chickpeas advancing, looking for frost-free September

CNS Canada –– Despite a late start, chickpea crops in Western Canada are seen to be progressing nicely as the harvest season approaches.

“In general, the chickpea crop looks really good,” said Colin Young, owner of Midwest Investments at Moose Jaw, Sask. “Of course the acres tend to be south and west of Moose Jaw, where I’m located, and of all the weather problems that were well-documented in the spring, that area tended to be the most exempt from them.”

While chickpea crops look good overall, he said, there have still been significant localized weather events in the past six weeks that will impact chickpea production.

“The crop is advancing nicely especially given the late start,” he said. “But yesterday I talked to producers that got significant hail on a portion of their chickpeas, (and) there’s reports of some fields that have some soil-born disease that have decimated a certain percentage of the localized crop.”

Chickpea producers are now focused on what the weather will bring in September, a key stage for crop development.

“September always tells the tale of chickpea,” said Young. “So no matter what the whole growing season is, we’re vulnerable until Sept. 20.”

The good run of favourable weather from mid-July and into August and good moisture supplies has significantly advanced the crop, which could hopefully make up for lost time at the start of the season.

“I sort of think of the growing season as a trip that you go on,” said Young. “Just because you start late, doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t arrive on time. You just have an obstacle.”

The chickpea market has been quiet, he added.

“The small calibre, Frontier-type, eight-millimetre and under, is still under intense competition and cheap supplies globally,” said Young. “That being said, the larger calibre, the new nine- and 10-mm Orion variety, are looking like they’re going to have good demand in the upcoming year.”

Last Thursday’s report from Statistics Canada showed no change in estimates for chickpea acres. About 170,000 acres of chickpeas are expected to be harvested. Production estimates came in at 142,500 tonnes, compared to 169,400 the previous year.

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


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