The 2021 crop is in the ground. Rain across the Prairies over the past two weeks has meant that the small percentage of growers who were waiting for moisture to finish their acres, have been able to complete seeding. Due to dry conditions this spring, farms were seeded corner to corner with no sloughs or potholes to work around. Hopefully the old saying will be true: If you seed in the dust, your granaries will bust!
Best off the start this year are wheat, oats and barley. They burst out of the ground and have not looked back. One grower told me last week that his oat crop was already in the five-leaf stage. In contrast to this, pulses and oilseeds were set back by several hard frosts in May. Frost killed or slowed the canola emergence, causing flea beetles to become an issue in some areas.
The oat acreage was predicted to decrease by 11 percent in Saskatchewan. But if the rains continue, and we have ideal growing conditions, we may well make up the difference in yield. World oat production was expected to increase – this could have a negative effect on prices. Now it’s time to be patient, sit back, and wait and see what Mother Nature provides for the balance of the growing season.
Lentil acreage is same as last year with similar yields expected. These crops had a good start. Again, no surprises here: the big issue will be the weather in the next 50 days. Just enough rain will ensure enough soil moisture to make an average lentil crop. Too much rain could jeopardize both yield and quality.
Yellow pea acreage is down 10 percent with not much carry-over. Like Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard, the bins are bare. More competition for yellow peas from local protein fractionators has provided strength to this market. This will continue as long as growth in the industry remains strong. We may even see the floor price of yellow peas move up.
Green pea stocks are a bit better than the yellows, but there will still not be huge carry-over. Acres seeded to green peas will likely be down 10 percent as well. While most growers are sticking to their rotations, with the same acres as last year, some pea acres were lost to canola and barley as a result of record high prices for those crops.
Chickpea acres are also down in this cycle. Expect chickpea pricing to remain strong.
Old crop pricing met the new crop in May this year – this typically happens in July. This early occurrence could be attributed to the generally slow movement of whole pulses. Though grain and oilseed sectors are flying out the bin, pulse exports are low. Container shipping problems and indecisive buying is making the market choppy. It may take another year for things to return to something normal, so hold onto your hats!
– from the desk of Mike Gallais
Director, Procurement/Rowatt General Manager
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