Demand for yellow peas remains strong

Demand for Canadian yellow peas continues to be strong after a disappointing Rabi crop (spring) harvest in India, said industry participants.

According to the Saskatchewan Pulse Market report for May 2013, yellow pea imports for India are expected to be in the 1.5 million- to 1.7 million-tonne range for 2012-13.

“I think a good chunk of yellow pea demand is coming from India and that is what has been giving it a lift for the last couple months,” Chuck Penner, president of LeftField Commodity Research, said Friday. “It is certainly a case of their (India’s) crops being a little bit disappointing.”

Shifting gears to last year’s crop of green peas, Penner said he expects limited activity to continue until the new crops reach the market.

“I don’t think there’s much trade happening,” he said. “There are very small volumes and little left to sell, so I really don’t see much movement until the new crop hits the market — then prices will drop back down again.”

In terms of this year’s crops, seeding is over 70 per cent completed in Saskatchewan, which is on par with previous years, according to a Saskatoon broker.

Statistics Canada estimates that the 2013 Canadian pea area will cover 3.43 million acres, up from 3.34 million acres in 2012. However, StatsCan does not differentiate how many acres of green versus yellow peas are being planted.

“It’s a little bit of guesswork, but I think there will be more green peas, so that will put a little pressure on that side of the market,” said Penner. “Yellow pea’s side of the market can handle bigger supplies, because the demand can expand.”

“I think it’ll be bigger than last year’s crop, but we’ll be starting with almost no carry-in stock of either greens or yellows. Total supplies aren’t going to rise that much,” he added.

Spot bids for old-crop green peas are $17.50, with yellow peas trading as high as $8.65. New-crop green peas are priced at $12.50, with yellow peas at $8.26, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire.

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

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