Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Pulse weekly outlook: Lentil values mainly steady

'There’s no fire in the lentil belly, that’s for sure'

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MarketsFarm — There hasn’t been much change in lentil prices over the last week and at least one marketer expects there likely won’t be any when it comes to the amount of lentils that Canadian farmers plant in 2021.

“[Lentil prices] are just softer than what they were. There’s no fire in the lentil belly, that’s for sure,” Allan Johnston, president of Johnston’s Grain at Welwyn, Sask., said.

However, producers are demanding more money for their green and red lentils, he said.

“Guys are being very bullish. They want 40 cents [per pound] for their greens, 30 cents on their reds. It’s not been happening.”

Prairie Ag Hotwire cited prices for Laird lentils between 23 and 38 cents/lb. delivered as of Monday. Estons were fetching 22-34 cents/lb., Richleas 23-35, Crimsons 23-30 and French greens 26-28.

Nevertheless, Johnston said prices are good and continue to be for pulses, as well as grains and oilseeds. The big factor on the Prairies for all crops this spring is moisture.

“We just need three to four inches of rain,” he said.

At this point, Johnston stressed it’s very unlikely producers would be changing their seeding intentions for lentils, by either adding more or reducing their amounts.

“Guys make up their minds in the winter. They get their seed prepared. It’s very hard to change. You just don’t change on a dime, there are too many decisions to make and too many factors.”

The most recent estimates from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) called for 4.2 million acres of lentils to be seeded in 2021, down a pinch from the previous year.

However, AAFC estimated production to decline from 2.87 million tonnes in 2020-21 to 2.7 million in 2021-22.

Statistics Canada is scheduled to release its next set of estimates at the end of this month.

— Glen Hallick reports for MarketsFarm from Winnipeg.

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