Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Abandonment of some lentil acres likely

red lentils
Red lentils. (Pulse Canada photo)

CNS Canada — As thunderstorms and wet weather continue across Saskatchewan, so grows the number of lentil fields being put at risk of yield loss and potential abandonment.

“Certainly in that west-central part of the province, Rosetown and other significant lentil-growing regions, we have seen some problems and crop failures due to too much moisture,” said Carl Potts, executive director for Saskatchewan Pulse Growers.

Statistics Canada has pegged lentil area for the year at 5.8 million acres — up significantly from last year’s seeded area, just under four million acres.

Potts believes the moisture problem in Saskatchewan, where the vast majority of Canada’s crop is grown, could result in a 10 or 15 per cent reduction overall.

“We’re expecting a higher-than-average amount of abandonment, or difference between seeded area and harvested area, than normal,” he said.

Heat and dryness are sorely needed to remedy the situation in many fields but Potts said some crops still look really good, despite the moisture.

“It’s really a year of significant differences with reports of very good, ideal growing conditions in some cases,” he said.

The weather at harvest time will be critical, he said, as lentils need time to dry down before being taken off.

“One of the other concerns about the moisture is disease,” he said.

Despite the challenges posed by the excess water, Potts still expects a very large crop to be harvested this year; it just may not reach the lofty targets forecast in June.

“A very high seeded area, with lower yields than usual, will still produce a significant amount of lentils.”

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

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