Calgary

Good crop, strong demand for lentils cheered by southern Alberta farmers

This year's lentil crop is turning into a bright spot for many farmers across southern Alberta, thanks to a good growing season as well as increased global demand.

'This is a great opportunity for us to catch up a little bit again'

Don Shepert, chair of the Alberta Pulse Growers, says global demand for plant protein sources like lentils continues to grow. (Westend61/Getty Images)

This year's lentil crop is turning into a bright spot for many farmers across southern Alberta, thanks to a good growing season as well as increased global demand.

Statistics Canada says strong national lentil production this season has helped push overall crop receipts higher.

Gerard Oosterhuis, who has just finished harvesting the red lentil crop on his farm near Bow Island, says he estimates his yield is up about 50 per cent over his long-term average and that the price is up about 30 per cent over last year.

"This is a great opportunity for us to catch up a little bit again," he said.

Producers are calling it good news, especially in a region that has seen drought-like conditions over the past three years.

Southern Alberta farmers had success in 2020 with lentil crops. (Paul Dornstauder/CBC)

In Alberta, lentils are primarily grown in the south as part of the regular crop rotation for many farmers.

This year, demand is on the rise in key markets like India, where lentil production is down and import tariffs have been reduced, said Alberta Pulse Growers' chair Don Shepert.

"It's good to see a good crop in a rotation that will help them out a lot. It's good to see it have a fairly good degree of success," he said.

"And always, when there is success with your crops in rotation, you tend to look at it and say, 'well, we're going to do this again and maybe perhaps we'll increase it.'

"Hopefully, these are things that continue to move on and give us a good future with lentil production in Alberta."

With files from Dave Gilson

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