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Lentil market quiet, awaiting harvest

The lentil market in Western Canada is quiet for the time being, with many unknowns ahead of the harvest keeping both buyers and sellers to the sidelines, says a trader who expects crop conditions will likely mean below-average yields.
Lentil crops are late due to cool temperatures throughout the growing season, said Darren Lemieux of Simpson Seeds in Saskatchewan. He said some fields were starting to mature, but that was because they were getting too dry.
Lemieux said quality and quantity were both still very much up in the air, but conditions are pointing towards a slightly below-average to average crop.
He said the reduced yields would likely offset the increase in planted acres.
Saskatchewan farmers planted 2.32 million acres of lentils in 2009, up from 1.61 million acres the previous year, according to Statistics Canada data.
Lemieux said grower selling and export sales have both been slow due to the unknowns in the market. However, once production is better known the merchant expected the demand would eventually come forward.
New-crop pricing for lentils is largely non-existent for the time being, Lemieux  said. Production programs are closed, and “right now we’re still waiting on the quality and quantity to see where the bids will settle out.”
Old-crop business is also relatively quiet in the lentil market due to a lack of available supplies, said Lemieux.
“Everything we produced and carried in has been carried out of the country.”

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