Peas seen as good cropping option for Canadian growers

Winnipeg | CNS Canada –– Peas are starting to pencil out as a good cropping option for farmers in Western Canada to plant this spring.

High fertilizer prices and low returns for some of the bigger crops are helping make peas a more attractive option, David Katerynych, grain broker with Kat Commodities Ltd., said during a presentation here at the Wild Oats Grainworld conference last week.

“Every day fertilizer goes up, peas pencil out a little bit better,” he said. “Peas can become a crop that’s cheaper to put in the ground and has a relatively good return.”

Farmers who have grown peas in the past two to three years have “made money undeniably,” he added.

The lower cost of seed, due to higher ending stocks compared to 2012-13, may also encourage some more acres this year.

Katerynych predicted three million acres of yellow peas would be harvested in the 2014-15 growing season, with a yield of 35 bushels an acre, producing 2.86 million tonnes.

He also predicted 600,000 acres of green peas would be harvested at a yield of 35 bushels an acre, producing 571,000 tonnes.

Total pea production in 2013-14 was 3.85 million tonnes, Statistics Canada data shows.

Though total 2014-15 pea production is expected to be lower than 2013-14 at 3.43 million tonnes, prices next fall will likely continue to move lower because logistics problems will limit the opportunities to export and move supplies, Katerynych said.

Fall spot prices for yellow peas would be in the $4.35-$4.75 per bushel range, he predicted. Old-crop prices for yellow peas were around $5-$6.25/bu. in late February, with new-crop at $5-$5.55, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire.

“At the moment that seems to be where feed prices will sustain it,” he said. “At that value, we’re going to move a lot into the feed market.”

He also predicted green peas would remain around the $6.50/bu. range this fall, as farmers will likely hold back on sales of the big crop he’s expecting.

Late-February Prairie old-crop green pea prices were in the $8-$11/bu. range, with new-crop values at $6.70-$7.75, Prairie Ag Hotwire shows.

Maple peas were estimated to be priced around $8 a bushel, down from current prices around $10, Katerynych said, adding maple peas are a good specialty option for farmers to consider planting this spring.

There are now more buyers for maple peas and more opportunities to sell than there were in the past, he added, as China is a growing customer of the crop.

“You’re probably going to have to deal with other companies that you didn’t before (if you grow maple peas),” he said. “But I think it’s worth it.”

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


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