Black Sea states didn’t pass on the peas

Peas are piled in a shed in the village of Edissiya, Stavropol, Russia, east of the Black Sea and north of the Georgian border.  |  REUTERS/Eduard Korniyenko

Farmers around the world didn’t back away from planting peas despite losing the top market for the crop.

APK Inform is anticipating another big harvest and export program from the Black Sea region in 2018-19.

It estimates that farmers in Russia will plant 3.27 million acres of the crop, which is identical to last year.

Growers in the Ukraine seeded 1.04 million acres, which is slightly more than last year.

APK is forecasting 3.18 million tonnes of Russian peas and another 1.02 million tonnes from Ukraine.

Combined that would be more than the 3.85 million tonnes of production Agriculture Canada is forecasting for Canada.

Marlene Boersch, managing partner with Mercantile Consulting Venture, is suspicious about APK’s Russian estimate.

“I had expected production to go down a little bit,” she said.

Boersch said peas are facing stiff competition from wheat in Russia.

“With the exchange rate changes in Russia wheat makes a hell of a lot of sense to grow,” she said.

But if APK turns out to be right and the Black Sea region produces a bigger crop than Canada that wouldn’t bode well for prices.

“Obviously it’s an issue if you have increased competition, particularly with India missing in action,” she said.

India has applied a 50 percent import duty on peas and is restricting imports of yellow peas to 100,000 tonnes between April 1 and June 30, 2018.

Meanwhile, Canadian farmers didn’t reduce pea plantings as much as analysts had anticipated. Statistics Canada estimates growers seeded 3.87 million acres, a 5.5 percent decline from last year.

The crop was seeded on time and has received some decent rains.

“We have the potential for a big crop and bigger probably than we wanted,” said Boersch.

Growers wanted to stick with their rotations. And $7 yellow pea prices at the time of seeding didn’t hurt.

“If you have half decent yields at all you make money at that,” she said.

APK did not provide an export forecast for Russia for 2018-19. The country is forecast to ship a record 800,000 tonnes of the crop in 2017-18.

Turkey took half of the country’s exports in 2016-17 followed by India at 15 percent and Pakistan at eight percent.

APK has conflicting reports on Ukraine’s exports. One forecasts that the country will ship 680,000 tonnes in 2018, down from 790,000 tonnes in 2017.

Another story on the web site reports that Ukraine exported 1.3 million tonnes of peas during the first 11 months of the current season.

India took 42 percent of Ukraine’s pea exports in 2017-18 followed by Turkey at 18 percent and Myanmar at seven percent.

Some of the exporters polled by APK expect Ukraine to increase shipments to Pakistan if India’s import duties stay in place. Others believe they will redirect product to Turkey, the European Union and Myanmar.

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