A cold, wet spring followed by heat stress all contributed to lower than average quality for the Calgary AdFarm pea crop.
According to Ben Graham, the crop averaged about 25 bushels to the acre with low to moderate quality.
“Weather was the biggest issue this year. It was cold, cold and wet to start with which peas don’t like a whole lot and then it got dry,” says Ben. “They couldn’t handle the drought stress so they ended up being short and difficult to combine. We may have left two to three bushels in the field because of that.”
Not only did the weather and disease affect quality, a record pea and lentil harvest in Saskatchewan and lower global demand are also conspiring to drive prices down.
“We are really in a wait-and-see position now as to how the peas grade and what price we can get for them,” says Ben, who farms with his dad on the family farm located near Vulcan, AB. “But we should either break even or make a little bit of profit.”
As for input costs, the Graham’s saved a bit because they didn’t need to put down any nitrogen since peas, like all legume crops, naturally fix that in the soil. However, there is still the cost for inoculants, preseed burnoff, in-crop treatment and finally the desiccation prior to harvest.
So what’s in store for our acres next year?
“We will rotate to canola on the pea stubble because of the nitrogen fixed this year. It’s not recommended to put barley on pea stubble because if you are going for malt, the protein levels will be too high. We’ll follow that with another cereal, probably wheat, and then start the rotation all over again.”