Statistics Canada was already projecting a decline in Canadian chickpea acres this year, but the drop may be greater than forecast, according to an industry official.
“I believe (acres) are more sharply down than published,” said Colin Young of Mid-West Grain Ltd. in Moose Jaw, who attributed the decline to the shift towards other high-priced crops, chickpeas’ disease susceptibility and the potential for dry growing conditions this summer.
In its April acreage report, StatsCan put this year’s chickpea planted area at 212,200 acres, down from 297,800 in 2020 and the lowest since 160,000 in 2017.
Although Prairie chickpea prices are up anywhere from 3 to 7 cents/lb from a year earlier to about 25 to 35 cents, Young said the larger gains seen in other crops have attracted more farmer interest. “The market is definitely higher than it was a year ago, definitely higher than it was six months ago. (But) It has not seen the same performance that lentils, canola or flax have seen.”
Carl Potts, executive director of Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, said he also believes chickpea acres will come down sharply this year. But he also pointed out that pulses can typically withstand dry growing conditions.
“We need moisture to make a crop, but pulses are well-adapted to drier conditions,” Potts said. “Farmers have a lot of options (this year). What we’ve been hearing is producers are sticking to their rotations because many crops they are planting this year have the potential to be profitable if they produce average-to-good crops. That’s positive from a long-term sustainability perspective.”
Source: DePutter Publishing Ltd.
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