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APG And AFSC Summer Meeting – An Opportunity to Share Information (PCN Fall 2013) OCT 21 2013 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News

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

In July, Alberta Pulse Growers’ Commissioners joined AFSC representatives for a meeting to discuss risk management topics important to pulse growers. Topics included an update on the current numbers for seeded acreage as of July 22, 2013, field pea versus feed pea coverage, updates around Agri-Stability and the rest of the Growing Forward 2 suite of programs, and a discussion about hail assessment stemming from the 2013 APG Annual General Meeting resolution.

Early expectations this spring were that pulse crops might see a decrease in the amount of seeded acres despite the very good pricing available to the marketplace. The expectation was that there would be fewer pea and lentil acres and perhaps decreased bean acres. The main anticipation of increased acres was in faba beans – due mostly to the compelling discussions over the fall in many zones across the province. The seeded acre data from AFSC was a pleasant surprise, though, as the total number of pulse crop acres has exceeded the 1 million mark again, with strong pea acre values, steady bean acres, and the expected increase in faba bean acreage.

“It is exciting to see the numbers that corroborate what growers have been seeing out the windows of their vehicles as they travel the highway – a lot of pulse crops,” says APG President Richard Krikke. “The harvest will also tell us a lot more, and hopefully, these crops will make it through to the market.”

Commissioners discussed the current 70:30 split between peas that are sold into the edible consumer market versus the feed market. APG has been successful in the past with moving this from 60:40 to the current value to better reflect the movement of peas over the past number of years into the food grade market. Growers are aiming for the higher grades and, more and more, are selling into the food market with less peas diverting into the feed market. Price has also played a role in this, with edible pea pricing providing upwards of a $2 gain. APG data suggests that the current split is even greater than 70:30, and APG continues to share information to pursue movement of this split.

Growing Forward 2 Risk Management programs have been in place since April 1, 2013, and with a few months of experience with them, the discussions focused on what the uptake has been for the programs. While there are still a number of growers remaining in the program, there are also a number who have opted out of the program. AFSC will begin assessing the programs and will be getting feedback on the suitability of the program so that it can be fed back to the federal government to tweak if necessary.

An important discussion for the meeting included learning more about hail assessment on pulse crops. Stemming from a resolution supported by the membership that stated that APG work with AFSC to develop an improved method for assessing hail damage on pulse crops, the APG contingent was eager to learn more about the assessment process and about the science behind the assessment. Since Alberta is known to have the greatest frequency of hail than any other part of Canada, according to a recent CBC documentary, and Alberta grain producers have consistently increasing claims from hail damage on crops, the opportunity to collaborate and work with AFSC on hail assessment is timely.

In the discussion, AFSC reviewed hail adjusters’ protocols with Commissioners and discussed the current year’s hail situation (as of July 22, 2013). AFSC shared that it would welcome additional work on hail assessment on pulse crops, and APG will take this back to the staff to investigate the science behind hail and pulse crops to seek opportunities for scientific research to benefit the data analysis on assessment.

“Having the opportunity to work with AFSC on these types of topics is important to our membership,” says Vice President Allison Ammeter, a Zone 2 Advisor who lives in a hail risk area. “If we can provide an improved process or greater information around topics, like hail, and greater risk management tools for our growers, we are only benefiting the industry.”

“We have a terrific dialogue between APG and AFSC, and we continue to make this a priority in our organization to work to find improvements for our growers,” says Leanne Fischbuch, APG Executive Director. “APG has been meeting with AFSC on a regular basis for over four years, and we are really pleased at how the relationship has developed.”

The next formal meeting with AFSC will take place next summer, but informal meetings continue to occur.