Pulse weekly outlook: Adversity bolsters chickpea bids

'Other crops just pencil in better'

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MarketsFarm — Canadian chickpea prices have either stayed firm or slightly went up as the pulse runs into more than its fair share of adversity.

Limited supply, reduced demand and environmental factors have all affected the long-term prospects of the crop at home and abroad, according to Colin Young of MidWest Grain in Moose Jaw.

“We have significant production problems in a few key growing areas of the world, primarily Argentina and Turkey,” he said. “Between North America’s reduction in acres with a modest production with our dry weather cycle this year, vying with other countries, we’ve had a retraction of supply in the world.”

COVID-19 lockdowns and reduced consumption have also reduced demand in chickpeas, he said.

The high delivered bid for kabuli chickpeas has run 25 to 33 cents/lb., an increase of three to five cents from a year earlier, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire data on Tuesday.

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, in its outlook Monday, forecasted 100,000 hectares to be seeded for chickpeas in 2021-22, down from 121,000 in the current marketing year. In turn, production would decrease by 20 per cent to 170,000 tonnes.

Crop diseases, such as an outbreak of ascochyta in July 2019, also wreaked havoc on recent harvests, not to mention the potential of other crops, Young said.

“When you’re faced with disease pressure, you can respond either with fungicides to combat the disease…(or) we’re looking at what else we can grow on these acres and other crops just pencil in better,” he said.

“Every commodity is incredibly strong. The whole oilseed complex is great, any feed grain is great, cereals (have) great prices. So when farmers are looking at their land base in terms of ‘What do I grow to get profit?’ everything looks profitable except for chickpeas.”

Growing conditions over the past two years — such as wet springs and dry summers which depleted soil moisture — have also made chickpea growers nervous.

“The prices are very good in terms of price per bushel. Our anxiety is 100 per cent in our confidence we will grow a crop,” he said.

— Adam Peleshaty reports for MarketsFarm.

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