“Some food processors are starting to fractionate peas into starch, protein and fiber,” notes Anderson, “and that adds even more value as they develop strong markets for those components.” “We are going to see North America’s appetite for pulses increase as new pulse products go mainstream,” predicts Newkirk. “Peas are a popular feed ingredient in Canada because we have a lot of production and there is availability at source, and I think that is what is peaking interest in the last couple of years here,” says Tremorin. “The feed industry has realized there are opportunities here because the market is big. We’ve been growing 3 million tonnes of peas for a number of years now. So there is room for it to fit back into rations, but it’s always going to be a numbers game with the other crops in terms of prices.”
“The feed industry is unique in that it’s very opportunistic. It is able to use whatever ingredients are thrown at it,” says Newkirk. “There are many high-quality feed ingredients and what gets used in animal rations depends on price and availability. Things can be switched quite readily, so if corn prices are high, feed wheat becomes an option. And if peas are at a good price, they’ll switch to peas. There is a lot of flexibility when it comes to animal feed ingredients and that’s an important part of the grain trade as a whole; you have this ability to absorb materials.”
With prices rising to the level of corn and soybeans, do the numbers spell game over for feed peas?
“The food and feed industries don’t really compete against each other; they complement each other,” explains Newkirk. “When there is a lot of production, say in India, and they don’t need as many, then the livestock industry becomes a really good outlet for those peas. And what happens is the price drops a little bit, the feed industry knows it’s a good product, and when the price is right viz a viz soybeans and corn, they jump on it. It varies from year to year quite a bit, but the two markets do work well together.”
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