Pulse weekly outlook: Tight Canadian supplies to cut into exports

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MarketsFarm –– Canadian pulse supplies during the 2021-22 marketing year will be the tightest of the past decade due to drought during the growing season, with the country likely to be a much smaller player in the international export market for peas, lentils and chickpeas as a result.

Statistics Canada pegged the country’s 2021-22 pea crop at 2.63 million tonnes in a report released Monday. That would be down by 42.8 per cent from the previous year and well below the five-year average (2016-2020) of 4.27 million tonnes.

The last time Canada’s pea crop came in below three million tonnes was the 2.5 million tonnes grown in 2012.

With an estimated carry-in of about 450,000 tonnes, total supplies will not be enough to meet the export pace of recent years, leaving a very tight stocks-to-use ratio. Canada exported 4.91 million tonnes of peas in 2020-21, according to government data.

The situation was similar in lentils, with estimated production of 1.98 million tonnes marking the smallest crop since 2012. That compares with the five-year average of 2.64 million tonnes. Canada exported an estimated 3.19 million tonnes of lentils in 2020-21.

Chickpea production was forecast at 63,000 tonnes by Statistics Canada. That compares with the five-year average of 189,600 tonnes and represents the smallest chickpea crop since 2004. However, with an ample carry-in, exports of the pulse may not see much change on the year.
Prices for all three crops have seen steady growth over the past month, as harvest operations progressed across the Prairies and the extent of production losses became clear.

Green and yellow peas are both seeing bids as high as $17 per bushel, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire data, while large green lentil bids were reaching above 60 cents/lb. in some cases. Red lentils, as high as 55 cents/lb., have climbed by about 18 cents over the past month.

Large-calibre Kabuli chickpeas are currently trading in the 50-60 cents/lb. area.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin reports for MarketsFarm from Winnipeg.

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