Pulse report: Prairie farmers selling before road bans hit

WINNIPEG, Feb. 6 (CNS) – Demand is picking up as pulse crop producers in Western Canada look to sell what’s left of last year’s crop before spring.

“(Farmers) need to get some cash flow going. They’ve got payments probably in February and March and then they want to beat the road bans,” said Allan Johnston with Johnston’s Grain in Welwyn, Sask.

Pulse prices dropped in the last few months of 2017 as India, a major buyer, placed import tariffs on peas, lentils and chickpeas. Johnston said producers had been waiting to see if prices would improve before selling.

“It’s just the reality of the marketplace and because of the tariffs and the hassle going on in India. I don’t think that’s going to go away too soon either,” he said.

At Johnston’s Grain as of Feb. 6 red lentils were being bought at 17.5 to 18 cents per pound. Green lentils were higher at 29, 30 cents per pound. Yellow peas were at C$7 per bushel, to be picked up at the farm. Green peas were higher at C$8.25 to C$8.50 per bushel.

“Those markets are all softer than what they were a few months ago. But it’s just the reality of the marketplace,” Johnston said.

At Rayglen Commodities Inc. in Saskatoon, Sask., prices haven’t changed much since before Christmas when they dropped, according to Kent Anholt. Although Anholt said India isn’t completely to blame for the price drop.

“(The tariffs weren’t) a big thing because everybody knew India wasn’t really buying, so the tariffs were part of it but it’s an over-saturated market,” he said. After pulse crop prices rose in late 2015, early 2016, producers around the world took notice which led to more pulse acres being planted, leading to large world stocks making for an over-saturated market in 2017.

Support could be coming for the pulse market in the long run though. Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay announced C$575,000 in funding for Pulse Canada at the Saskatchewan Pulse Grower’s meeting in Regina, Sask. on Feb. 5. The money will be split between exploring new markets for Canadian pulses, promoting pulses in the Canadian food service industry and research about innovation in the Chinese pulse market.

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