A farmer prepares a field south west of Red Deer for seeding on Tuesday afternoon.

A farmer prepares a field south west of Red Deer for seeding on Tuesday afternoon.

Pulse crops growing in popularity as seeding begins in area

More peas please!

More peas please!

Farmers seem to have been listening to that request as more are seeding the major specialty crop this spring, Harry Brook, crop specialist with the Alberta Ag-Info Centre in Stettler, said Tuesday.

But rather than a sign that fussy children are suddenly liking their greens, the reason is simple — last year’s pea crop garnered very good prices, he said.

Over the winter, yellow peas were in the $12 per bushel range, and at 40 to 60 bushels an acre, “It was paying a heck of a lot better than canola,” he said. “It’s a stimulus response you might say. Like Pavlov’s dog.”

Lentils were also extremely valuable last year and anyone who did grow them “made out like a bandit,” Brook said.

India uses a lot of pea flour to make food products and their winter crops did not do so well because of poor weather. So the country looked to Canada for more peas.

While the United Nations has declared 2016 the International Year of Pulses — crops such as yellow, green and chick peas, lentils, and faba beans — canola and wheat remain by far the main crops grown in the Central region.

^

About one million acres of peas were seeded last year in Alberta. This compares with 6.8 million acres of wheat, 6.1 million acres of canola, and two to three million of barley.

There may be more Canadians consuming pulses, but the impact is minor, Brook said.

Whatever the crop, like the beef industry, most of what Canadian farmers produce is for export. “The reliance remains on exports … we live and die by our exports.”

A warm dry spring has resulted in general seeding underway quite a bit earlier than usual.

Brook estimates 40 to 50 per cent of seeding is done in the Central region.

“It’s still early. It’s only May 10. I’m seeing quite a number of fields already up, some winter wheat fields already around four inches.”

This year someone sent him a photo of a wheat plant at the two-leaf stage in April. It was seeded in Southern Alberta around March 17. “That is super early,” Brook said.

Usually a lot of farmers are doing well if they begin seeding in the first week of May. This year many had started during the second and third weeks of April, he said.

The risk with seeding too early is that young vulnerable crops could still be hit with frost. The temperature in the Red Deer area dipped to -2C early Tuesday morning.

Looking ahead and trying to predict the weather for the 2016 growing season, “I’ll be a 100 per cent accurate come September,” Brook said.

barr@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Erika Fetterly, owner of EFP Studios, recently launched the Let Them Have A Voice campaign. (Contributed photo)
Central Alberta photographer’s campaign aims to give youths a voice

An Innisfail photographer is giving a platform to young central Albertans so… Continue reading

Alberta has 1,910 active cases of COVID-19 as of Wednesday. Red Deer is reporting five active cases, with 108 recovered. (File photo)
Red Deer reports 25th COVID-19 death

415 new cases identified provincially Saturday

More than 120,000 Albertans have signed up to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the first two days of appointment bookings. (Photo courtesy Alberta Health Services Twitter)
Alberta Health Services apologizes after seniors struggle to book vaccine appointments

The CEO and president of Alberta Health Services is apologizing after seniors… Continue reading

Red Deer’s Kyle Moore, 26, will be a houseguest on Season 9 of Big Brother Canada. (Photo courtesy Big Brother Canada)
Red Deer man will be a houseguest on Big Brother Canada

A Red Deer man will be a houseguest on the upcoming season… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools says that in the absence of additional funds from the provincial government, there was no consideration of using alternate classroom sites in the district. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools launches online engagement process

Red Deer Public schools is seeking community input to help ensure a… Continue reading

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Edmonton Oilers' Jesse Puljujarvi (13) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Justin Holl (3) battle in front as goalie Jack Campbell (36) makes the save during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, February 27, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
No Matthews, no problem: Minus NHL goal leader, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 4-0

Leafs 4 Oilers 0 EDMONTON — The Maple Leafs knew even with… Continue reading

Sean Hoskin stands on a neighbourhood street in Halifax on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Hoskin was diagnosed with COVID-19 almost a year ago with symptoms that still persist. Some provinces have established programs to deal with long-term sufferers but Atlantic Canada, with relatively low numbers of patients, has yet to provide a resource to assist them. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
On East Coast, exhausted COVID-19 ‘long haulers’ hope specialized clinics will emerge

HALIFAX — On evenings when Sean Hoskin collapses into bed, heart pounding… Continue reading

Ottawa Senators goaltender Matt Murray (30) stands in his crease as Calgary Flames left wing Andrew Mangiapane (88), left to right, defenceman Rasmus Andersson (4), Matthew Tkachuk (19), Mikael Backlund (11) and Mark Giordano (5) celebrate a goal during second period NHL action in Ottawa on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Calgary Flames beat Ottawa 6-3 to end Senators’ three-game win streak

Flames 6 Senators 3 OTTAWA — The Calgary Flames used a balanced… Continue reading

Crosses are displayed in memory of the elderly who died from COVID-19 at the Camilla Care Community facility during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mississauga, Ont., on November 19, 2020. The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection is likely to be much higher than recorded because of death certificates don't always list the virus as the cause of a fatality, experts say. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Death certificates don’t accurately reflect the toll of the pandemic, experts say

The number of people who would have died from a COVID-19 infection… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough to cover the average pinky nail but is made up of more than 280 components and requires at least three manufacturing plants to produce. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
From science to syringe: COVID-19 vaccines are miracles of science and supply chains

OTTAWA — A single dose of Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine is barely enough… Continue reading

Wetaskiwin RCMP say a Maskwacis man died after he was struck by a vehicle. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Clare’s Law in Saskatchewan used handful of times; Mounties review their role

REGINA — A first-of-its-kind law in Canada meant to warn those at… Continue reading

The Magpie river in Quebec is shown in a handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Boreal River MANDATORY CREDIT
Quebec river granted legal rights as part of global ‘personhood’ movement

MONTREAL — With its kilometres of rapids and deep blue waters winding… Continue reading

Most Read