Pulse School: Price trend shifts change the pulse marketing window

(Kara Oosterhuis/RealAgriculture)

We have a different kind of Pulse School episode for you — it’s market focused this time, instead of agronomy focused. The export destination of peas is shifting, and some of the patterns in pricing are changing too, which may mean opportunities for farmers when they go to market their pulse crops, especially yellow peas.

Joining us for this School episode is Chuck Penner, from LeftField Commodity Research, to talk about a recently released pricing and export report.

Of note, Canadian yellow pea exports have shifted from India to China. “We used to have this standard line that ‘India is the largest consumer, producer, and importer of pulses’, well they’re still the largest consumer and they’re still the largest producer, but they’re not the largest importer anymore,” says Penner.
(Watch the full interview for a great explanation of the price patterns and what it would take for the Indian market to open up again)

When one country buys 60 to 70 per cent of our yellow peas every year, of course they deserve a spot in the conversation, but in late 2017 they imposed such high tariffs and quantitative restrictions on peas, that India is no longer a real market for Canadian exports anymore, says Penner. India was also a seasonal buyer, making their purchases right off Canadian combines, creating a different seasonal price behaviour.

In contrast, China buys yellow peas for fractionation, and they typically purchase about the same amount every month.

In the past, farmers would forward price their pulse crops for 2020 in the fall of 2019, but that’s beginning to shift. New crop prices for green or yellow peas don’t really gear up  until February or March, so not as much forward pricing is happening according to Penner. Price highs have started happening much later in the season.

Don’t get too frustrated with yellow pea prices as they are, though, as the seasonal lows are always around harvest time, says Penner. There might be a slow response in the markets but keep an eye out later this winter for pricing opportunities

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