Canada Markets

Prairie Pea and Lentil Markets

Cliff Jamieson
By  Cliff Jamieson , Canadian Grains Analyst
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A Saskatchewan pea crop is swathed. Bulk exports of peas were positive in May, but not enough to end the light pressure expected for pea prices into harvest. (DTN file photo by Elaine Shein)

A combination of data and weekly Saskatchewan Agriculture Market Trends data shows the bid for No. 2 yellow peas slipping to $6.75 per bushel delivered to Saskatchewan plants, returning closer to the lows last seen in April after reaching as high as $7.30/bu. in June. This price is 27.7% lower that reported this week last crop year and 29% below the three-year average. New-crop bids are indicated to range from $6.40 to $6.75/bu., suggesting the possibility of further pressure ahead.

As indicated in Tuesday's Canada Markets Blog, current AAFC supply and demand estimates, adjusted for Friday's Statistics Canada acreage estimates, would suggest that dry pea supplies for 2018/19 will be 2.8% lower than last crop year and approximately 1% lower than the five-year average. The latest AAFC estimates indicate a year-over-year increase in forecast demand for peas in 2018/19.

Green peas have also shown recent pressure, reported at $8.35/bu. delivered Saskatchewan plants, the lowest level seen since early May. This is .5% higher than the same week in 2017 although 3.9% below the three-year average. New-crop bids point to expected downside ahead, unchanged from recent weeks at $7.80 to $8.25/bu.

The Canadian Grain Commission's Exports of Canadian Grain and Wheat Flour report for May points to a big month for pea shipments, with 373,000 metric tons of bulk peas shipped from licensed facilities, up from 177,800 mt in April and 201,700 mt the previous May. China was the large buyer, with shipments totaling 76% of the total bulk volume this month and 66.9% of the total bulk volume year-to-date. During the same period in 2016/17, 60.4% of the total bulk volume was shipped to India.

Recent data shows further pressure on prairie lentil prices. Large green lentils are bid at $25.13/cwt after a modest recovery in late June, a price level that is 43.7% below the year-ago level and 48% below the three-year average. New-crop bids shown by range from $23 to $25/cwt, suggesting further pressure is expected as we move into harvest.

Red lentils weakened to $15.72/cwt delivered to Saskatchewan plants, 26.6% below the same week last crop year and 49.7% below the three-year average. While Saskatchewan Agriculture's weekly bid fell close to this level in December 2011, it would seem that this is the weakest bid seen since March 2007. This bid falls roughly in the middle of the range of new-crop bids, reported at $14.50 to $17/cwt.

The CGC's bulk data shows a modest 19,600 mt of lentils shipped in May, with 16,300 mt shipped to the U.S. and 3,300 mt shipped to Mexico. The same month in 2017 saw 83,900 mt of bulk lentils shipped, almost entirely to India. Cumulative bulk shipments are just 32.5% of last year's volume at 254,800 mt.

As indicated in Tuesday's Canada Markets Blog, 2018/19 lentil supplies are estimated 9% higher at 3.178 mmt, based on current government projections. This includes the recent acreage report from Statistics Canada, 7.9% higher than the five-year average, while current government forecasts call for a year-over-year increase in exports that may prove a challenge.

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