Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Pulse weekly outlook: Lack of willing sellers underpins prices

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MarketsFarm — Pea and lentil bids in Western Canada are holding relatively steady for the time being, despite anecdotal reports of increased international demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with attention soon shifting to spring seeding.

A lack of willing sellers is keeping pulse bids underpinned in Western Canada, according to broker Dale McManus of Johnston’s Grain at Welwyn, Sask.

“If producers don’t feel that they’re being paid what they need to be paid, then they leave it in the bin,” he said.

“Things are slowly moving, but they’re not moving at any high rate of speed,” he added, noting people are wary of signing contracts for things not moving as fast as they should be.

From a logistical standpoint, McManus didn’t think COVID-19 social distancing measures had slowed movement too much yet — with the backlog at the ports from earlier in the winter slowly rectifying itself. However, the unprecedented nature of the situation could lead to eventual shutdowns.

Seasonal road bans are also coming into effect, adding another layer to logistical challenges.

Looking ahead to the 2020 crop, McManus noted many farmers will still need to finish the 2019 harvest before seeding, which may push back some spring field work.

However, if conditions allowed, McManus agreed with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s prediction for steady pea and lentil acres in 2020 compared to the previous year.

Reports of pulse shortages in India were also being followed closely in the Canadian industry, but McManus noted it remains to be seen how that may translate into Canadian prices.

Green peas are currently trading around $10.50 per bushel in Western Canada, while yellow peas are at about $6.25, according to McManus. He placed lentil bids in the “low-20s” cents/lb.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin reports for MarketsFarm from Winnipeg.

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