Stalemate seen in Canada’s lentil market

A lack of demand for western Canadian lentils and reluctance from growers to sell at current prices appears to have led to a stalemate.

“Talking to the buyer side of things, there really isn’t any room for prices to move any higher at this moment,” said Shawn Madsen, operations manager for Southland Pulse at Estevan, Sask.

“Neither party seems to want to budge or be able to budge. Nobody is panicking either, because the buyers don’t have a whole lot of demand to fill, and the farmers are not interested in selling, so nothing is happening.”

“It’s not a stalemate where people are angry, it’s just a stalemate.”

The stalemate has caused growers to sell their other crops instead, while they hold onto their lentils until prices strengthen.

“They’re trying to move what they can,” Madsen said. “They have been selling green peas, because they have decent value and got good yields on that. I’m sure they’re moving canola and other cereals too.”

According to Prairie Ag Hotwire, FOB farm Laird No. 2 as of Wednesday are topping out at 18 cents per pound, half a cent lower than a month ago. FOB farm crimson No. 2 lentils are now priced at 19 cents/lb., down a cent from a month earlier.

Saskatchewan Agriculture’s weekly crop report, released Wednesday, said harvest is 97 per cent complete, with one per cent of the lentils ready to be combined, and two per cent of the crop still standing.

“Yields are OK, but I’m curious to see where we end up in quality overall,” Madsen said. “There were some lentils that moisture and weather issues and we haven’t seen a whole lot of samples in yet.”

— Brandon Logan writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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