The fall season always kicks off a fresh start at SPG. A fresh crop in growers’ bins, a new fiscal year, and growers’ switch from a production focus to marketing the crop and planning for next season triggers a sense of renewed optimism for the year ahead.
The 2023 production season produced its share of challenges. From drought in many areas to insect problems, and even excess moisture in some places, the resiliency of growers was once again challenged. Estimates are that pulse crop yields in Saskatchewan for 2023 were considerably lower than average, but higher than the 2021 prairie-wide drought. Yields will range from above normal to single-digit bushels per acre in some places, depending on the location.
As growers shift focus to marketing this year’s crop, external factors outside of growers’ control weigh on our minds. Recent diplomatic challenges between India and Canada reinforce the importance of strong commercial ties with our most important markets. For decades, Canada’s pulse industry has developed a strong trading relationship with businesses in India built on mutual respect and trust. We remain confident in the strength of this relationship. In a time of increasing food inflation and food scarcity, we are confident that affordability and availability will continue to drive decision making at a government level. Pulses are a staple food that are an important source of protein in India for hundreds of millions of people. Canada will continue to supply this important market with these important products. SPG and Pulse Canada are working behind the scenes to ensure the market for Canadian pulses remains open.
There is a lot to be optimistic about in the near term and in the longer term. Prices remain strong for pulses, particularly lentils and chickpeas. Global demand for pulses continues to rise and is fueled by demand for pulses in traditional markets and as ingredients in food and feed products. Work remains to be done to help ensure Saskatchewan pulses remain competitive within crop rotations here, as well as with suppliers of pulses from other countries in the medium- and long-term. That is why we continue to invest levy dollars into areas such as variety development, root disease research, agronomic performance, and building a larger and more diversified demand base for pulses.
– Carl Potts, Executive Director
Saskatchewan Pulse Growers