GrainWorld: Frost in India a boon for pea growers

Cool conditions and, in some cases, frost in India have affected that country’s dry pea crop, and that is expected to improve the export outlook for Canadian producers in 2011-12.

Fred Oleson, deputy director of the market analysis group with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, noted the issues in India while speaking Monday at the Canadian Wheat Board’s annual GrainWorld conference in Winnipeg.

“The frost in India has had an impact on production of their pea crop, which should give a boost to export business here in Canada,” Oleson said.

Predictions are that production out of the Asian nation for dry peas will be at about 550,000 tons, down from the usual 700,000.

In the 2010-11 crop year, Canada exported 2.8 million tonnes of dry peas globally, with 1.9 million (68 per cent) of those going to India. Oleson expects to see a total of 2.3 million tonnes exported worldwide in 2011-12.

There are bullish fundamentals for the pulse crop as well. Oleson said Canadian carry-in stocks for the 2011-12 crop year are forecast to be at just 300,000 tonnes, which compares to 795,000 one year ago.

Furthermore, overall supplies are expected to be at 3.13 million tonnes, down from 3.687 million in 2010-11.

Current prices are $8 per bushel for green peas and $7.79 for yellow peas, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire. Oleson said he expected values to stay in that range.

“I think prices should remain at favourable levels,” he said. “Eight dollars per bushel for yellow is a high price, but it is still quite possible for next year.”

At the moment, Oleson said, exports have seen a slight drop-off thanks to a lack of demand and Canada having low amounts of carryout stocks.

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