Pulse weekly outlook: Farmers selling ahead of road bans

CNS Canada –– Pulse crop producers in Western Canada are looking to sell what’s left of last year’s crop before spring.

Farmers “need to get some cash flow going. They’ve got payments probably in February and March and then they want to beat the road bans,” said Allan Johnston with Johnston’s Grain at Welwyn, Sask.

Pulse prices dropped in the last few months of 2017 as India, a major buyer, placed import tariffs on peas, lentils and chickpeas. Johnston said producers had been waiting to see if prices would improve before selling.

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“It’s just the reality of the marketplace and because of the tariffs and the hassle going on in India. I don’t think that’s going to go away too soon either,” he said.

At Johnston’s Grain, as of Tuesday, red lentils were being bought at 17.5 to 18 cents/lb. Green lentils were higher at 29-30 cents/lb. Yellow peas were at $7 per bushel, to be picked up at the farm. Green peas were higher at $8.25-$8.50 per bushel.

“Those markets are all softer than what they were a few months ago. But it’s just the reality of the marketplace,” Johnston said.

At Rayglen Commodities in Saskatoon, prices haven’t changed much since before Christmas when they dropped, according to Kent Anholt — although he said India isn’t completely to blame for the price drop.

“(The tariffs weren’t) a big thing because everybody knew India wasn’t really buying, so the tariffs were part of it but it’s an oversaturated market,” he said.

After pulse crop prices rose in late 2015/early 2016, producers around the world took notice, which led to more pulse acres being planted, leading to large world stocks making for an oversaturated market in 2017.

Support could be coming for the pulse market in the long run, though. Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay announced $575,000 in funding for Pulse Canada at Saskatchewan Pulse Growers’ meeting Monday in Regina.

The money will be split between exploring new markets for Canadian pulses, promoting pulses in the Canadian food service industry and research about innovation in the Chinese pulse market.

— Ashley Robinson writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Glacier FarmMedia company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. Follow her at @AshleyMR1993 on Twitter.

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Ashley Robinson writes for MarketsFarm specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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