Today, we got the USDA’s first projections for the 2018/19 crop. In addition to giving grain markets an idea of what production numbers are going to be around the world, they also gave us a look at the demand side.
For lentils, the USDA doesn’t actually provide a projection until later in the growing season but, given the focus being around production, we took our own stab at the production.
This year, the USDA is estimating that American farmers will plant 791,000 acres of lentils. This is down 28% year over year. Historically speaking, 94.8% of the planted acres of lentils gets harvested in the US, which means that this year, it can be postulated that American farmers will combine 749,785 acres of lentils.
Using the average yield of the last 5 years of 1,206 lbs/acre, it can be forecasted that the American farmer will produce 410,225 metric tonnes of lentils.
Compared to last year’s production 339,335 tonnes, this would mean that this year’s American lentils harvest will be 21% higher.
We are assuming that we will have better (read: not as dry) weather this year, and thus, production in 2018/19 is expected to be up due to yield increase.
We have to point that this production forecast is just a shot in the dark.
If accurate though, it means that North American lentils supplies could get hefty. But everything depends on the weather from now during the planting season this spring until harvest in the fall. Therefore, the weather is a wildcard to watch going forward.