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Pulse School: Tight Canadian lentil supplies impacts global pulse balance sheet

By: RealAgriculture Agronomy Team

September 14, 2021

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The majority of the Prairie lentil crop has been harvested and some may be wondering what the market for the commodity holds.

Marlene Boersch, managing partner of Mercantile Consulting Ventures (MCV), joins Kara Oosterhuis for this Pulse School episode to talk about what the global markets have in store for lentils.

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Boersch recently spoke at the Pulse and Special Crops Convention, about the outlook for lentils this year, centred around some not great yield numbers — 1,048 pounds per acre, versus last year’s yield number of close to 1,500 pounds per acre.

“I think when the year started out, everybody was looking forward to reasonable acreage, I think we’re talking about 4.3 million acres, which would give us a lot of export potential,” says Boersch. This is important for MCV’s customers, because Canada contributes as much as 60 per cent of the world’s lentil production, and approximately 45 per cent of all exports.

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A major variation in production like this matters a great deal to farmers, to MCV, and to the price variation — what people will have to pay overseas to get enough lentils, says Boersch.

While panelists at Boersch’s recent presentation agreed with her yield estimates, recent model-based estimates from StatsCan are even lower, pegging lentil yields at 938 pounds per acre.

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MCV has done quite a bit of work this year with lentil yield numbers, overlaying moisture data on major lentil crop districts, the result being some numbers that weren’t far off StatsCan’s.

Globally, Boersch says that overall supply of lentils is down, despite Australia and the Black Sea region providing good material.

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“It basically leads to a declining global production number, declining supply number, and for next year, also declining ending stocks number,” says Boersch. “So we’re probably looking at a global reduction of about 20 per cent.”

Check out the full conversation for more insight from Boersch: