Pre-Seeding Crop Report

Spring 2023 Crop Report – Oat and Pulse Market

It is hard to believe that we are only a few days away from May. March was unusually cold and the weather in April has been all over the map. This past week’s low pressure system dumped close to a foot of snow on us which is likely to push the start date back a week. By the time this snow disappears and the ground dries up, the seeders will be ready to start rolling.

The oat market has been quiet with little movement of oats, both physically off the farm and price wise. Inventories are high and burdensome. With farmers not loving the prices, they have been moving everything else off into the market. Other commodities seem to be a better value compared to oats. This is likely to result in a drop of 35 to 40 percent in oat acres for 2023. That is unless we have a late spring, and then default acres will be seeded to oats as they have a shorter growing season than other crops.

Pea prices and movement have been steady all of winter. There has been good movement and decent prices so there have not been any concerns. It looks like pea acres will be steady to a bit lower with maybe a 5% decrease. It is a bit worrying that the green pea acres look to be down more than yellow peas. My tip to the growers would be to grow green peas over yellows due to the price premium next fall.

The recent surge in lentil demand this past month may entice a few more acres into lentils. We are likely to see a 5% increase in lentil acres over last year.

The media is talking about a return of El Nino. This typically means a dry season in Australia, and reduced monsoon rains in India. Argentina is dry as well, and they are a competitor for Canada’s peas, beans, and lentils. This event may well create some upside in the pulse markets.

Chickpea acres are likely to be down slightly, with prices hovering on par with lentils. Those prices won’t buy many acres of chickpeas. A rain shortage in the southern hemisphere might result in a strengthening of prices for those farmers who choose to seed chickpeas.

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