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Lentils and dry pea prices in Alberta

Lentils and dry pea prices in Alberta

Posted on: 11/7/2017 | Author: ATB Financial's Economics + Research Team

Cattle, wheat and canola—these are the big three jewels in Alberta’s agricultural crown, at least in terms of the value of cash receipts. But of course, there is much more to farming in this province than these. A couple of lesser-known but expanding crops are lentils and dry peas.

Prices for both commodities have pulled back in 2017, at least from the record highs that both enjoyed back in 2016. At that time, lentils were selling for a whopping $1,000 a metric ton and dry peas for over $400 per metric ton. That’s more than double the 20-year average for both commodities.

In June of this year, prices pulled back to something decent, but still close to the historic average. Lentils were selling for $563 per metric ton, while dry peas were at $342.

Growing markets for legumes and beans in countries like India have provided lucrative opportunities for Canadian pulse growers. For example, last year Alberta exported over $40 million in dry peas to India—the largest export market by far for the province’s pea growers. And $24 million in lentils were sold to Sri Lanka, the United Arab Emirates and India in 2016.

It’s a stretch to call dry peas and lentils “new” crops since the farming of these go back for thousands of years. Still, they do represent some relatively new diversity to Alberta’s agricultural sector. More diversity in both crops and foreign markets will serve our farming sector well in the years ahead.

Alberta lentil and dried pea prices, graph

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