Tight lentil market watching weather

CNS Canada — Old-crop large green lentils saw a jump in price over the past week, but actual supplies are few and far between, with most market participants turning attention to new-crop opportunities and weather uncertainty across Western Canada’s lentil-growing regions.

“The trade is very thin right now,” said analyst Chuck Penner of LeftField Commodity Research, noting “nobody wants to commit to making a sale overseas unless they have supplies from farmers on hand.”

As a result, any remaining strength in old-crop lentils will be tied to “little spikes in prices” as people need to fill a sale, he said.

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Looking ahead to the new crop, Penner said the lentil market was starting to get nervous over dryness in major lentil-growing regions of Saskatchewan and Alberta.

Adverse conditions in India have already helped new-crop pricing edge higher, with the Canadian uncertainty adding to the strength. “If the Canadian crop is in trouble, there could be more gains ahead,” said Penner.

Actual lentil plantings in Canada were likely about 150,000 acres above the Statistics Canada estimate of 3.35 million acres, he estimated.

The acreage base could have been larger, he said, but tight old-crop supplies also translated into tight seed availability.

Spot bids for top-end green lentils were reported above 40 cents per pound to as high as 47 cents for No. 1 Lairds in the latest Prairie Ag Hotwire data, while red lentils were also hitting the 40-cent mark in some cases.

New-crop bids for Nos. 1 and 2 quality can be found in the low to mid-30s for both green and red lentils.

Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for MarketsFarm specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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