Feed pea bids hold firm on output concerns

(Resource News International) — Feed pea prices in Manitoba and Saskatchewan have been holding fairly steady while values in Alberta have been creeping upward. The ability of values to hold steady and even move a bit higher is being directly related to the weather.

“The dryness in Alberta and the western half of Saskatchewan has created concerns about production of the crop from both a feed and edible pea viewpoint,” said Fred Greig, pea chair with the Manitoba Pulse Growers Association.

“Without the proper moisture the pea plants produce less pods and in those pods are less peas.”

Greig, who farms at Reston, Man., about 45 km south of Virden, said it doesn’t matter whether they are edible pea plants or feed peas, the outcome will be the same: less production.

The drought conditions were seen negatively impacting yields more than the quality of the pea crop, he said.

“That means there shouldn’t necessarily be an increase in feed pea supplies unless we get into some real adverse weather during the harvest time,” Greig said.

Harry Brook, a crop specialist with Alberta’s provincial Ag-Info Centre at Stettler, indicated that pea plants in the Peace River district of northern Alberta are going to be extremely difficult to harvest.

“Peas in the Peace River region are only about four inches tall despite being in the 10th node of crop development. They only go to the 16th node, and then they pod out,” Brook said.

“That is going to be a crop that is so short you are going to have a tough time picking it up.”

Short season

Feed pea production in Manitoba, meanwhile, was also expected to be down.

“There was a lot of acreage to peas that just did not get into the ground this spring due to the lateness of the season caused by the excessively wet conditions,” Greig said. “A lot of producers who wanted to plant peas had to switch to short-season alternatives.”

Statistics Canada, in its June 23 acreage survey update, pegged dry pea area in Manitoba at 95,000 acres, which was down from 110,100 seen in 2008.

Feed pea prices in Western Canada are being prevented from climbing too far by the huge amount of distillers’ grain that is making its way into the livestock sector in Canada, Greig said. “That is displacing feed pea requirements by quite a bit.”

Feed pea cash bids delivered to the elevator in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire data, currently range from $5.03 to $5.17 a bushel. In Alberta, bids range from $4.50 to $7.08, with price dependent on the region.

At the end of May, feed pea bids in Manitoba and Saskatchewan ranged from $4.90 to $5.03 while in Alberta they were $4.50 to $6.04 a bushel.

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