Australia increases pulse crop estimate

Australia’s 2014-15 pulse crop just got a lot bigger, but the market largely shrugged it off.

Total pulse production in the February Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) crop report was up 13 percent over the December estimate.

That is a huge increase, but the 2014-15 winter crop harvest will still be 12 percent smaller than the previous year.

The reality is that the world needed a bigger Australian crop because of strong demand from the Indian subcontinent, said Brian Clancey, editor of the Stat Publishing newsletter.
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“Even though it’s up, it’s not bearish because the world situation in pulses is quite good, especially for lentils and peas,” he said.

Demand was exceptionally strong in the last half of 2014 and will likely continue this year because of poor crops in India and possibly Pakistan.

“It doesn’t look like (demand) is going to stop at all,” said Clancey.

Production of all of Australia’s pulse crops is up from the December estimate.

The biggest percentage increase was in the red lentil crop, now pegged at 255,000 tonnes, up from 201,000 tonnes in December.

Clancey said Australia’s lentil supply will drop below 300,000 tonnes for the first time since 2009. He forecasts an export program as low as 228,000 tonnes, well below the 302,000 tonnes shipped last crop year.

Most of Australia’s lentils are sent to India, where they compete with Canadian red lentils.

ABARES’ chickpea estimate is 517,000 tonnes, up 19 percent from its December forecast but 18 percent smaller than last year’s crop.

Clancey forecasts 466,000 tonnes of chickpea exports, down a lot from last year’s program of 630,000 tonnes. Australia’s desi chickpeas compete with Canadian yellow peas in India.

“They can’t sustain their (pulse) exports at the levels that we saw the previous two or three years because they don’t have enough product,” he said.

Australia’s lacklustre export program will increase the odds that Canada will be essentially sold out of yellow peas and red lentils by the start of the new crop year.

Clancey expects Canadian growers to plant 3.55 million acres of yellow peas this spring, up from 2.95 million acres last year. Green pea acres are forecast to fall to 450,000 acres from 810,000 acres last year.

He anticipated 2.46 million acres of red lentils, up from 2.12 million acres last year, and 1.14 million acres of greens, up from 980,000 acres in 2014.

Source : http://www.producer.com/2015/02/australia-increases-pulse-crop-estimate/

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