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Spring Seeding Crop Report

Oat and Pulse Market Update

From the desk of Mike Gallais, Director of Procurement

It is hard to believe that we are already into June, with seeding nearly complete. In Saskatchewan, the topsoil moisture is rated 3% surplus, 89% adequate and just 8% short.

Farmers seem to be happy with the crop emerging. Lentils are in the best condition with 37% of the crop rated excellent and 59% good. Field peas are a close second with 32% excellent and 62% good. Chickpeas, at 31% excellent and 67% good, are not far behind.

There has been a cool windy spring with many weather systems moving through and providing rain to most areas. Weather experts have confirmed that the ocean surface temps in the Pacific are cooling, that El Niño is fading, and La Niña is starting to take hold. These climate patterns in the Pacific Ocean affecting weather worldwide is expected to result in a cooler and moister summer than there has been on the Canadian prairies over the last 3 years.

Right now, markets remain tight for green peas with buyers scrambling to purchase enough supply to get them through to new crop. The cupboards are bare: there is virtually no carryover of green peas this year!

A similar trend with yellow peas, but not so extreme. Still, we have tight supply and good demand. New crop contracts of green and yellow peas are cheaper than old crop, so we are not seeing a lot of signed new crop contracts. Stay tuned as there will be pricing opportunities sometime prior to harvest.

The story is the same on green lentils, both large and small. The bins are empty. Last week Matt Speidel and I made the rounds and purchased left over seed to fill in demand from now through to harvest. We learned that with the high green lentil prices of last year, some red lentil acres are moving into greens.

Emerging lentil crop. Photo courtesy of Brown Farms, Spring 2024.

Early predictions for seeded oats were a 30% increase over last year. We do not believe that this increase materialized and would suggest a more modest increase of 15-20%.  Without high priced oats, rotations will not be pushed. If rotations are pushed, and oats are grown more often than recommended, you can end up with a wild oat problem. Wild oats can develop herbicide resistance and this can be a big problem long term if not managed properly.

We would put the oat crop at 30% excellent and 65% good. Given the seeded acreage being less than predicted, even with a good yield, it will be really hard to build inventory.

We expect to see oat prices remain at the current levels until closer to harvest, at least until we figure out the yields and the quality.

Please remember, like every optimistic farmer, we are only 3 months away from a bountiful harvest!

Emerging oat crop. Photo courtesy of Rob Ardell, Spring 2024.

If you have any questions about this crop report, please reach out to our team.

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