Pea prices sharply higher from year ago

The run-up in commodity prices over the last year has not left peas by the wayside, as the value of both yellow and green peas has seen a sharp jump over the last 12 months.

According to data from Prairie Ag Hotwire, elevator bids for green peas are bringing as much as $8.75 per bushel, which is $3.60 per bushel higher than one year ago. Yellow peas are bringing as much as $8.68 per bushel — $3.68 higher than a year ago.

Les Aubin with Walker Seeds at Tisdale, Sask. said demand from India has been the catalyst for the increases in price, as they have amped up their purchases on yellow peas.

If India’s demand remains strong, prices still have room to go higher, he said.

“I think we will see the market trading between $8 and $10 (per bushel) for the rest of this year,” he said.

“What it really comes down to is how big of a buyer India turns out to be on yellow peas. Will they cut back because of their supposedly big pulse crop, or will they buy like they did last year? If they keep buying, prices could keep going higher, because peas are still a cheap source of protein.”

Overall strength in agricultural markets was another factor behind the bullish behavior of the market, Aubin said.

“No farmer is going to grow peas for $5 per bushel if they can get $7 wheat. It had to go up,” he said.

A lack of supplies in Western Canada was another underpinning feature of prices. Ending stocks were lower than in past years, and acres in Saskatchewan suffered a significant decline this year.

The latest numbers from Statistics Canada showed a total of 1.77 million acres were seeded in Saskatchewan this year, down from 2.46 million one year ago.

Asked how this year’s crop was faring, Aubin said they were generally looking pretty good: “We won’t have a bumper crop by any means, but we should have about an average to slightly above average crop.”

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