Canadian farmers could swing from grains to the likes of
lentils and beans in their sowings plans even more strongly than has been
expected thanks to a rise in pulse prompted by fears over Indian and Turkish
Canadian farmers are already expected to lift lentil
plantings by 19.5% to 2.86m hectares, and seedings of dry field peas by 21% to
3.98m hectares, amid a switch from traditional grains, such as barley and wheat,
official data showed two weeks.
Thanks to rail hiccups blamed on a cold winter, many
Canadian growers have been left with large grain stocks, or been forced to
accept large discounts from merchants attempting to make up for restrictions on
their handling volumes.
However, the rise in sowings might prove even larger thanks
to a run up in values spurred by production concerns in two of the main
consuming countries, Canada-based Alliance Grain Traders, one of the world's
biggest pulse merchants, said on Monday.
In the US, prices of dry edible peas rose 11.2% last month
to $14.90 per hundredweight, according to official data.
Pulse prices are being supported by a lack of "clarity" on
crop prospects in India, where "wet and cool conditions" have spurred a "high
degree of variability" in estimates for pulse crops, and where the prospect of
an El Nino weather pattern has raised concerns of a below average monsoon.
Turkish prospects have been undermined by dry conditions, as
highlighted by US Department of Agriculture staff, who on Friday warned that a
dearth of rainfall and late frost would cut wheat production by 3.0m tonnes to
15.0m tonnes this year.
In "key consumption markets for pulses, including India,
Turkey and the Middle East/North Africa region", a strong start to 2014 for imports,
as typically expected for early in the calendar years, is "expected to extend
into the second quarter, which is traditionally a slower shipping period", Alliance
Grain Traders said.
Indeed, "deficiency in production in India and Turkey may
result in continued buying activity throughout 2014 to meet domestic and
regional demand requirements".
This may sap "the remaining stocks Canada has from both the
2013 harvest and projected 2014 production".
Canada's lentil stocks, at 648,000 tonnes as of the end of
March, have more than halved over two years.
Alliance Grain Traders' comments came as the group unveiled underlying
earnings down 38% at Can$3.18bn for the January-to-March quarter.
Although revenues rose 12.6% at Can$311.3m, earnings were
undermined by higher administration and financial expenses, a reflection of
The group also highlighted that its Canadian volumes were "affected
by rail issues and resulting railcar shortages during the quarter, a factor also
evident in a rise of Can$11.1m in North American inventories during the
quarter, and which remains an issue.
"Freight and transportation issues in Canada have impacted Alliance
Grain Traders' ability to ship volumes of product through ports in Vancouver
and Montreal which may result in timing related issues surrounding sales and
shipment," the group said.