On Wednesday, the USDA released its September WASDE crop report, which offered a few key updates to the U.S. chickpea crop. Today’s focus centered on a rebound in acres, yield, and thus U.S. chickpea production.
Here’s our breakdown of the numbers.
The report showed the market that American farmers planted 820,000 acres of chickpeas in 2018/19. This figure is up 32% compared to last year.
Of the acres seeded, 651,000 acres is estimated to be harvested, with 449,000 acres of Kabuli (large) chickpeas, and 202,000 acres of Desi (small) chickpeas. These numbers are all more than double their 5-year averages of 310,600, 216,400, and 94,300 acres respectively.
While we got the updated numbers on U.S. chickpea acres, the USDA provided no update on production and yield. Thus, Using the 5-year average yield of 23.3 bushels per acre for kabulis and 24 bushels per acre for Desis, this equates to a U.S. chickpea harvest of approximately 416,400 MT in 2018/19.
If observed, the 2018/19 chickpeas production would be up 19% compared to the previous year and, like acres, nearly double the five-year average.
However, given some of the growing conditions this year, we think that U.S. chickpea yields could actually be about 95% of the 5-year average, or about 22.1 bushels per acre for kabulis and 22.8 for desis. If realized, this would put 2018/19 U.S. chickpea production at 353,200, only about a 13% jump year-over-year.
Keep in mind that, less than 2 weeks ago, StatsCan estimated that 2018/19 Canadian chickpeas production would total 294,000 MT. This is up 3 times as much as the 5-year average of less than 100,000 MT.
Putting two and two together, this means that entire North American chickpeas harvest could total somewhere around 900,000 MT. Thanks to the huge increase in Canadian chickpeas production, this would still be about triple the 5-year average and is clearly bearish.
That being said, we’re still of the mindset that the market has priced in this huge crop. The bigger question though is whether or not the U.S. chickpea harvest can get bigger from now or not.