What Roquette wants: Prepping for the pea growing season

If you’ve driven the open stretch of Trans-Canada highway between Winnipeg and Brandon, you may have noticed a new build project not far from Portage la Prairie. French company Roquette is set to open its pea processing plant by the end of 2020, which means it’s gearing up to start purchasing yellow peas this fall.

Bruce Brolley, senior agronomist with Roquette, explains that while the Roquette plant is domestic, the end product is a food product destined for international markets. As such, there are more checks and balances in place — and higher demands on farmers — to produce what Roquette is after.

Roquette will be contracting peas through an identity-preserved system, requiring that farmers stick to certain production practices. Farmers will be required to complete an Environmental Farm Plan if they don’t have one already. They’ll also have to adhere to certain cleaning practices to ensure soybeans, in particular, don’t contaminate the pea sample. There’s also the restriction that farmers may not apply glyphosate or Reglone, a desiccant, in season. Glyphosate can be used, however, as a pre-seed burndown or post-harvest to control fall annual and perennial weeds, Brolley says.

For 2020, Brolley says that farmers are welcome to use any yellow pea variety they chose, so long as they source certified seed. That stipulation will likely evolve as the company gets some processing accomplished, but for now there are selected or favoured varieties of yellow pea.

As for pricing, Brolley says that Roquette will be offering a premium and will post a schedule for such in the coming days.

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