Despite a struggling export situation in Canada, edible greens and yellow pea bids have firmed since reaching a low in late January. There is some degree of skepticism that the Indian Rabi pulse crop will not achieve the production estimates as indicated by the Indian government, while recent adverse weather may also be impacting their production potential.
Price improvement on the Prairies is coming at a time when export data is somewhat disappointing. As of week 31 data from the Canadian Grain Commission, 1.1328 million metric tonnes of dry peas have been exported. While this is 4% higher than last year's exports as of the same week, the overall pea production was 15% higher in 2013 and export targets were set higher year/year.
Given the export target of 2.850 million metric tonnes set by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada for the 2013/14 crop year, current exports are approximately 566,000 metric tonnes behind the steady pace required to meet this target. According to AAFC's supply and demand analysis, ending stocks were expected to swell this year to 450,000 mt, 159% higher than the 174,000 mt carried out of 2012/13 and the highest since the 2010/11 crop year. An aggressive shipping program will be needed to keep supplies from growing significantly higher over the balance of the crop year.
Current new crop bids are reported by StatPub at $6.20 to $7.50/bu. for green peas while yellows are reported at $5.20 to $5.50/bu. Agriculture Canada's first look at new crop pea acres in their February supply and demand report included a 9% gain in pea acres to 3.58 million. While there is significant interest in pulse production this season, any surprise in the way of even higher acres from Statistics Canada on April 24 with when they release their first official crop acreage report for 2014/15 could have a bearish impact on pea prices in the absence of favorable news on the demand side.
Cliff Jamieson can be reached at email@example.com
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