Lentil prices remain competitive for Western growers

A large crop and competitive prices for Western Canadian lentils has many Prairie growers optimistic as they begin the market their crop over the next 10 months, said Bobby Leavins, operations manager for Rayglen Commodities in Saskatoon, Sask.
According to Statistics Canada, Western Canada’s lentil production is pegged at 1.709 million tonnes, which would make the 2013-14 crop the second biggest in the past decade.
“I think growers are pretty happy,” he said. “Everyone’s got a different situation, but I think for the most part, growers are fairly happy with the crop they produced and now it’s just another 10 months ahead of us of marketing this crop.”
Saskatchewan Agriculture’s final crop progress report for 2013 said yields averaged 1,730 pounds per acre, which is significantly higher than the ten-year average of 1,237 pounds per acre.
“I think yields were above average this year,” Leavins said, noting that harvest is basically complete across the province. “The difference this year is so many areas had a pretty decent crop across the board. No, I don’t think we’re going to be swimming in the stuff, but there’s definitely going to be enough to meet demand.”
When speaking of global demand for the Canadian product, India is always a big player, as they are the main importer of Canadian pulses.
However, with the weak value of their rupee and expectations of a large Rabi crop, India’s demand for Canadian lentils could be much lower this season.
“They (India) haven’t really been that aggressive (in buying) so far,” Leavins said. “I think they’re pretty confident in what they’re going to produce.”
In terms of current pricing, Leavins said lentils are remaining steady as harvest pressure has subsided.
“Reds have strengthened and greens have remained flat,” he said. “Large greens remain flat, but small greens have fallen off a little bit more since harvest.”
As of Oct. 31, Prairie Ag Hotwire had FOB farm No. 1 Crimson lentils topping out at 20 Canadian cents per pound, No. 1 Laird lentils pegged as high as 20 cents per pound, and No. 1 Eston lentils worth as much as 18 cents per pound.

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