Lentil price direction tied to weather

(Resource News International) — Old-crop bids for lentils in Western Canada have been holding at extremely strong levels while weather is likely to be the main factor determining the trend for new-crop values.

“Essentially, if we get an early frost in August, lentil prices are likely to go ‘crazy,'” said Alan Wagner of Prairie Pulse Inc. at Vanscoy, Sask., southwest of Saskatoon.

The merchandiser acknowledged old-crop supplies of lentils are running thin, and as a result few end-users have been stepping forward to cover needs.

However, “the whole world” is now waiting to see what the new crop is going to bring,” Wagner said, explaining that Canada is the globe’s main lentil supplier.

The lentil crop in Western Canada, primarily Saskatchewan, ranges anywhere from seven days to about two weeks behind normal. The crop’s development is entirely dependent on the weather it has received so far, the variety of lentil that was seeded and the region of the province.

If frost was to hit in August, Wagner said, prices for lentils would likely skyrocket.

“It all comes down to who wants to bet on when the frost will occur,” he said.

Statistics Canada pegged seeded area to all varieties of lentils in the spring of 2009 at 2.32 million acres, up from 1.61 million in 2008.

Growing conditions in Saskatchewan have varied widely, with the central and western areas dealing with extremely dry conditions early in the development stage. Some central, southern and northern areas of the province have had adequate moisture to work with.

Cash bids for old-crop No. 1 Laird lentils delivered to the elevator, based on data from Prairie Ag Hotwire, currently range from 34.5 to 40.5 cents per pound in Western Canada and for No.1 Estons, from 31.5 to 35.0 cents. No.1 red crimson lentils ranged from 33 to 45 cents per pound.

New-crop bids for No. 1 Lairds currently range from 27 to 32.8 cents per pound; No. 1 Estons, 26.3 to 28.8 cents; and No. 1 crimsons, 29 to 35.9 cents.

At the end of June, bids for No. 1 Laird lentils were 34.5 to 40.5 cents; No. 1 Estons, 31.5 to 35.5 cents; and No. 1 crimsons, 33 to 48 cents. New-crop bids for No. 1 Lairds at that time ranged from 27 to 28 cents; No. 2 Crimsons, 22 to 35 cents. No new-crop bids for No. 1 Estons were available at that time.


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