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U.S. Chickpea Production to Decrease as Producers Plan Reduction

The US will not assist in addressing what some say is a potential global kabuli chickpea shortage. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's March Prospective Plantings report, farmers in the United States plan to seed 340,500 acres of the crop, a 4% decrease from the previous year.

Shivam Dwivedi
U.S. Chickpea Production to Decrease as Producers Plan Reduction
U.S. Chickpea Production to Decrease as Producers Plan Reduction

According to a Global Pulse Confederation news release, all exporting countries must expand their output significantly. Poor agricultural yields in India and Mexico are putting a strain on global supplies. This is projected to result in a crop scarcity during the following six months. Because of a 30 percent increase in planted area, a hot and dry spell in December "wiped out" chances for a bumper crop in India.

As a result, the worldwide supply chain is 100,000 tonnes short of product. According to the news release, this is exerting upward pressure on global prices. Russia, Canada, the United States, and Turkey are all on high alert. "Even if all of these origins expand planted area by 30%, I still anticipate a shortfall over the next six months, particularly of the high calibre sizes," Navneet Chhabra, director of Global Garbanzo, stated in a release.

Columbia Grain President Jeff Van Pevenage agrees with the USDA's chickpea projection. "That's what we've seen and heard," he explained. "We had no idea there would be an expansion." Van Pevenage believes there will be a shift away from large calibre kinds and towards tiny calibre varieties because that is what US humus manufacturers desire and where good prices can be found.

The USDA predicts 519,000 acres of lentils, a 21% decrease from last year and in line with market expectations. "I'm not sure why," Van Pevenage admitted. "We believe that price levels are still appealing to farmers who want to cultivate lentils." His intuition tells him that the United States will reclaim many of those lost acres as spring seeding progresses. Yet, Montana, the largest lentil-growing state, is still cold and snowy. This could cause seeding to be delayed. Farmers in that state will not plant many lentils if they do not get into their fields by mid-May.

If acres arrive at the USDA's forecasted level, Stat Publications believes there will be strong demand for Canada green lentils in the American market. Farmers in the United States are projected to grow one million acres of peas, a 10% increase over previous year. "Pea returns have been actually fairly fantastic for the US producer," Van Pevenage remarked. He agrees with the USDA projection because yellow pea prices have been hovering in the US$9 to $10 per bushel level, despite little crop forward contracting.

As spring approaches, moisture levels are "very good." He expects that yellow peas will account for the majority of the rise. According to Stat Publications, the USDA's pea estimate startled pulse markets because expectations were for an overall fall in North American plantings. According to Stat, yellow peas will account for 62% of US acreage, with greens accounting for the remaining.

Dry bean plantings in the United States are anticipated to be 1.272 million acres, a 3% decrease. According to Van Pevenage, the decline could worsen because there is still a lot of snow in eastern North Dakota and no thawing weather on the horizon. A new soybean crushing facility in that state may also entice more soybean acres. According to Stat Publications, US pinto and navy bean production may decline, but black bean production may increase.

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