The April Canada: Outlook for Principal Field Crops report released by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada included an upward revision in the forecast for dry pea exports, increased by 100,000 metric tons to 3.6 million metric tons for 2019-20. Since the first forecast for the 2019-20 crop year was released in January 2019, this forecast has been revised higher six times, while increasing 28.6% overall from 2.8 mmt to the latest 3.6 mmt forecast. This compares to the record 3.944 mmt shipped in 2016-17.
This resulted in a downward revision in the ending stocks forecast by 100,000 mt to 325,000 mt, very similar to the 312,000 mt carried out of 2018-19 and is 23% below the five-year average. The current pace of movement will put previous stocks estimates to a test in the months to come.
As of week 37, or the week ending April 19, the Canadian Grain Commission reports 1.7876 mmt exported in 2019-20, the largest volume moved over this period in three years. This pace is 27.4% higher than the same period in 2018-19, while 4.3% lower than the five-year average for this period.
When the pace of movement over the past five years is considered, we see that on average the week 37 exports through licensed facilities accounts for 58.2% of total crop year exports. This average pace of movement would project forward to a volume less than 3.1 mmt, which is below the current 3.6 mmt forecast.
At the same time, over the past two crop years, an average of 42.5% of total crop year exports were realized as of week 37, with 42% of exports reported in 2017-18 and 43% of exports reported in 2018-19. This pace would project forward to 2019-20 crop year exports of 4.2 mmt, 600,000 mt higher, a volume that would seem impossible given the current Statistics Canada stocks estimates.
Statistics Canada merchandise trade data shows steady movement over the May-July period or the last quarter of the crop year in 2017-18 (960,087 mt) and 2018-19 (970,678 mt). In 2017-18, 71.6% of the movement over this period consisted of movement to China, while in 2018-19, shipments were more diversified with 54% of the shipments to China.
Week 37 data includes commercial stocks reported at 386,200 mt as of April 19, a volume that is 12% higher than reported for the same week in 2018-19 and 31% higher than the five-year average. Stocks in terminal positions are below the five-year average, while stocks reported in primary elevators are well ahead of last crop year and the five-year average.
Prairie bids for dry peas continue to push higher. Yellow peas delivered to Saskatchewan plants are up $0.50/bu. this month according to Statpub.com to $7.80/bu. as of April 24, a level last seen in September 2017 according to Saskatchewan Agriculture/Statpub.com data. Green peas are reported at $12.25/bu., the highest reported within the past year. The market should encourage producer selling while attracting a few more acres during the spring planting season.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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