Green pea production lower than normal

(Commodity News Service Canada) — With the persistent rains that hampered the Prairies throughout the summer, producers saw lower yields on green pea crops.

Cam Laxdal, general manager with the Winnipeg export office of Saskatchewan special crops firm Lakeside Global Grains, said the wet weather had a lot to do with the lower production.

“The official numbers haven’t come in yet, but I don’t think we will see an average crop across the West” in Canada, Laxdal said.

Although yields don’t look to be as high as usual, Laxdal said the quality of the crop is actually better than in the last couple of years.

“The pea crop is coming off in better shape than the lentil crop,” Laxdal said, because peas can handle the moisture better than lentils.

There is not an abundance of demand for green peas right now, he said.

“There is a little bit (of demand) from South America, but India is very quiet,” he said. “Demand for split peas is OK, so there is a reasonable market there. I think the split pea market is the main force driving the price increase.”

China has also been getting more involved in the pea market, although most of their imports are not of the green variety. This is because of the price.

“They (China) generally buy higher bleached peas, for crushing and making flour,” Laxdal said. “These are similarly priced to a yellow pea. They aren’t usually a buyer of higher-quality green peas.”

While the green pea crop has seen relatively good quality, the yellow pea crop is not as strong, and that is likely to attract interest from China.

“On the yellow pea we are seeing quite a bit of earth tag, which is downgrading them in the edible market. I expect a lot of them will go into the Chinese market,” he said.

Elevator deliveries for green peas across the Prairies were bringing as much $7.50 per bushel, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire, $1.25 per bushel higher than one month ago.

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