Seed & Chemical
The future of lentils is bright
Canada has seen tremendous growth in lentil production as lentil consumption has soared over the last few years. According to Bert Vandenberg, University of Saskatchewan Plant Sciences Department, Crop Development Centre, world lentil consumption has gone up four to five times relative to the human population. Lentil production in Saskatchewan alone has gone from 25,000 acres in 1983 to more than three million acres today. With growth like this, it is no wonder the future looks so promising.
"The future of lentils is very bright," said Vandenberg. "Here in Canada, we have developed the technologies for successful crop production and the truth is, people like to eat lentils. I predict that next year Canada will grow 50 per cent of the world's lentils. That will be 80 per cent of the world's exports."
The fundamental principle contributing to the future of lentils is education in crop rotation and the benefits of sticking with it. Crop rotation extends the life of all the tools on the farm, including disease control, weed control and overall productivity. In the lentil crop, herbicide resistance is a concern because it is a less competitive crop.
"My number one piece of advice is stick with a crop rotation that is appropriate because otherwise you risk losing your weed control," said Vandenberg. "You risk shifting weed populations and probably lowering your productivity when you shorten the rotation. Crop rotation is a long-term enterprise."
Looking at the history of Western Canada, weeds have always been the number one issue that limits productivity in lentils. Herbicide tolerance is a useful tool for farmers combating resistance issues.
"Herbicide tolerance in lentils gives you a really good option for weed control," said Vandenberg. "Weed control is the number one thing that you need to grow a lentil crop successfully. I'm thinking that 80 to 90 per cent of lentil production is now with herbicide tolerance for Group 2 herbicides, also known as Clearfield lentils."
BASF is invested in research and the future of lentils, and will continue to invest a portion of Clearfield lentil herbicide sales back into the Crop Development Centre (CDC), when matched with a signed commitment. BASF is working with growers to provide the best possible cropping system that will enhance the future of Canadian agriculture.