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Pulse Market Update (PCN Winter 2013) JAN 1 2013 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

This article appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of Pulse Crop News.

Neil Blue, Market Specialist – Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development


Canada is the world’s top producer and exporter of field peas. In 2012, Canadian producers seeded 3.2 million acres to peas, rebounding from last year because of better spring field conditions. However, yields were only average, and total Canadian pea production is estimated at 2.74 million tonnes. India and China are expected to again be the major buyers of Canadian peas. Indian demand into the spring will depend greatly on the result of their Rabi season crop.

The combination of low Canadian pea carryover, mediocre production, and strong demand bodes well for pea prices this year. Despite a 520,000 tonne US pea crop, double that of 2011, green pea demand has held very strong. Canadian supplies are tight, and green peas are trading from $11/ bushel to as high as $13/bushel for top quality. Meanwhile, yellow edible peas are trading from $7.75 to $9.00/bushel. Feed pea prices have also been strong, reflecting the high prices for feed grains and soybean meal. Recent edible pea price strength was in response to commercial stocks being drawn down by strong export movement and production problems in Argentina. Due to excessive rains, Argentina pea production has been cut by 25 per cent to only 35,000 tonnes, similar to last year’s crop. Argentina may become a pea importer this year.

Current expectations are for another tight Canadian pea carryover level. Considering the high prices for peas this season and the continued recognition of the value of growing peas for rotational reasons, Canadian pea acreage could be higher in 2013. However, this year is a reminder that higher acreage does not necessarily result in oversupply to the market.


2012 Canadian lentil production is estimated at 1.38 million tonnes, down from last year’s 1.53 million tonne crop. Seeded acreage was down about 200,000 acres, and average yield is estimated below 1,300 lb/acre.

However, the lower Canadian production is buffered by last season’s record high carryover. Canadian lentil exports are expected to increase. Prices are down about 20 per cent from year ago, with #1 and #2 Lairds trading from 16 to 24 cents/lb., and Estons trading for 18 to 22 cents/ lb. Lentil prices have eased over the last month. Supply/demand fundamentals are better for red lentils, and that is reflected in their steadier prices. Although yearend lentil carryover is expected to be lower than in the previous two years, it will still be well above the five year average. Next year’s lentil acreage is likely to be suppressed somewhat by the lower prices over the winter.


2012 Canadian chickpea acreage is estimated at 155,000 acres, a 26 per cent increase. However, a lower estimated average yield of 1,472 lb/acre produced about 104,000 tonnes, up only 13,000 from last year. US chickpea acreage jumped 45 per cent and led to a record crop there of around 125,000 tonnes. With the higher supplies and resulting lower prices, Canadian exports are expected to rise to over 50,000 tonnes. The Argentina crop has been downgraded by rains at harvest, with only about 60 per cent of the 115,000 tonne crop expected to be high quality product.

Kabuli chickpea prices are down about 15 per cent from last year, with large Kabulis selling in the 37 to 40 cent a pound range. Desi chickpeas are selling in a 27 to 32 cent a pound range, similar to a year ago. The price outlook will hinge on upcoming Indian and Australian crops. Australia’s crop appears to be large and of good quality. Current forward bids are steady to lower than cash bids. Canadian chickpea carryover is forecast at around 24,000 tonnes, double that of last season.


In response to last year’s strong prices, 2012 North American dry bean acreage increased by about 50 per cent. Mexican bean planting was delayed by drought, but timely rains led to a good crop, currently estimated at between 800,000 and one million tonnes. 2012 US bean production is estimated at 1.1 million tonnes, up 37 per cent from 2011. Canadian and Alberta acreage was up about 30 per cent from 2011, with Canadian dry bean acreage estimated at 310,000. Of the 50,000 acres of dry beans seeded in Alberta last spring, about half were Pintos, 30 per cent were Great Northerns, and the balance a combination of reds, blacks, and pinks. Alberta bean yields in 2012 were about average, near one tonne/acre.

Because of the rebound in their bean production, Mexican import needs are expected at about 200,000 tonnes compared to 650,000 tonnes last year. Bean prices were strong into harvest, but have since eased, reflecting the larger production. About 90 per cent of Alberta beans are contracted and priced through a pool. The current estimated Alberta price range for all bean varieties for this marketing season is from 30 to 40 cents a pound.