Pea Crop Report, May 2022
Crop Year 2021 (wherryandsons.com)
Crop 2021 has completely sold out around the world.
2021/22 brought several significant difficulties globally, not to mention wars in Ukraine, hyperinflation, shipping crisis, fuel issues, and container issues. The world did not have enough Marrowfat Peas.
UK – had minimal carryover from crop 2020, and yields were slightly lower than expected.
Canada – very poor yields with only 55-60% of average.
NZ – Crop 2020-21 was good, but the most recent harvest in Jan-March 2022 has been the worst in 25 years.
With demand globally outstripping supply and major inflation on all commodities, Marrowfats have hit world record prices. Wherry for 2022 is trying to stabilize this price as consistency is the key to sustainable growth.
Like all other commodities, crop 2021 in the UK has seen significant jumps in price. Still, the UK has been relatively competitive compared to other counties (Canada, Argentina) as yield and quality were good.
Prices have moved up, but we remain competitive as a nation.
There will be a small carryover from crop 2021 into 2022.
The UK only produces a small quantity of Yellow Peas every year, between 6,000 – 12,000 tonnes. We also import a large tonnage of yellow peas from Ukraine and Russia, which was suspended in February due to the ongoing war. This means all domestic yellow peas have now been used up, and stocks are virtually nil heading into crop 2022.
Historically, yellow peas are sold as a discount to green peas, but this year’s yellow peas have been a premium over Green by as much as $70/tonne.
In the attached pea crop, approximately 15% of the crop has not germinated (red circles) due to the lack of moisture. If the crop now receives rain, these seeds will always be several weeks behind the main crop and therefore are unlikely to catch up and reach full maturity.
Rain is forecast for tomorrow and Wednesday, so hopefully, the established plants will make up for the lack of germination.
As the crop grows in May, it will regularly need moisture to bring the harvest to flower. Flowering is a vital time to allow the crop to produce seeds.
Challenges for 2022
There are no new agrochemicals on the horizon as an alternative use for harvesting or control of weeds – this is a significant issue for our industry, and there is no positive news on this front.
We are researching the possibility of Swathing peas to give even maturity. This was trialed in 2021 in the UK and was successful. However, this is a new approach for many.
Swathing is quite popular in Canada, and we will carry out some larger trials in 2022 to try and encourage more farmers to harvest this way.
Crop carryout from 2021 harvest
The crop carryout from 2021 is zero. Historically this should be 30% of the production total.
Market outlook for 2022
Marrowfats have seen an increase in area for Crop 2022, but all Marrowfat Seed was sold and therefore limited the market size.
The crop sees an increase to around 22,000t predicted, but zero carry out from both the UK and other nations means a tight market.
Wherry is working on building the supply back up to 30,000t, which would produce an even supply and demand picture.
Green Peas saw a significant reduction in the crop size due to competition of crops, and farmers did not see big enough price increases versus other yields for crop 2022.
Yellow and Maple Peas see a slight decline also.
Currently, prices are at an all-time high for many, many reasons:
1) All commodities have risen in value
2) No carry over from 2021
3) Demand outstrips supply
4) Canada also had very poor yields
5) Future difficulties in growing the crop due to agrochemical restrictions
6) Farmers do not want to grow old varieties
7) High prices for crop 2022 of Wheat, OSR (canola), and Malting Barley
Prices are the highest they have ever been and are likely to remain high.
We hope for a good crop 2022 which allow for a correction in the market. Please watch this space.
One positive for pulse crops that may bring more farmers into growing is the price of artificial fertiliser. Fertiliser is at a record price, and the more expensive it gets, the more it pushes farmers towards peas and beans. Pulses fix their nitrogen and therefore do not require any additional fertiliser applications. Also, they produce more nitrogen than they need, which remains in the ground for the next crop. This is a straight saving for the farmer, and often see a significant yield benefit for the next crop (almost always wheat).