India’s wet summer may create Canadian sales

There are reports of flooding and quality damage in some important pulse-growing regions as the monsoon tap stays on

Indian farmers began the year praying for more rain and now they’re wishing the taps would shut off.

The summer crop that started off parched is drowning in water in some regions of the country.

Monsoon rains that were 18 percent deficit shortly after planting started are 10 percent surplus country-wide as harvest approaches.

There are reports of flooding and quality damage in some important pulse-growing regions.

Canadian farmers should keep an eye on what’s happening with India’s tur (pigeon pea) growing regions because a short tur crop could result in increased lentil imports.

Tur is a kharif or summer crop. According to the India Pulses and Grains Association, about 90 percent of the country’s tur crop is evenly dispersed in the three states of Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

The India Meteorological Department reports that monsoon rains have been 55 percent above normal in Maharashtra, 23 percent surplus in Karnataka and about 11 percent more than usual in Andhra Pradesh as of Sept. 30.

The department was forecasting continued above normal rainfall over Maharashtra, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh during the Oct. 3–16 period.

Vivek Agrawal, director of JLV Agro, an Indian commodity brokerage firm, estimates that 20 to 40 percent of India’s black matpe and green mung bean crops are experiencing quality damage due to excess rainfall.

“Pigeon peas and red lentil are not affected,” he said in an email.

“But if the rains continue then they will get affected.”

Agrawal said pigeon pea and red lentil prices have been stable in India, primarily because the government has three million tonnes of pulses in its strategic reserves.

“But if the rain continues then things will change,” he said.

“We have to wait one more month to give some conclusions for the status of India’s pulses.”

Marlene Boersch, managing partner with Mercantile Consulting Venture, hopes India’s excess moisture could be the catalyst for a Canadian pulse crop rally.

“Clearly there are some problems,” she said.

“The word is there is some damage. How big it is, I don’t know.”

She believes Canadian yellow peas and red lentils are underpriced relative to other crops.

Boersch doesn’t think yellow peas should be selling for $6 per bushel when compared to sorghum, barley and feed wheat prices.

Canada has exported 606,200 tonnes of peas through week eight of the 2019-20 campaign versus 354,400 tonnes a year ago. The lentil numbers are 176,700 tonnes compared to 88,600 tonnes.

“It actually shows some pretty good pace,” she said.

Boersch said many of the other crops have experienced an increase in value and she believes peas and lentils are due because there is plenty of early-season demand for pulses and perhaps more on the horizon if India’s crop suffers quality damage.

“They’re cheap,” said Boersch.

However, she pointed out that all the monsoon rainfall bodes well for the upcoming rabi or winter crop in India as many depleted reserves have been replenished.

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