Quality of western Canadian lentils 2023

This report presents harvest quality data for western Canadian green lentils and red lentils grown in 2023. Lentils samples were submitted to the Canadian Grain Commission’s Harvest Sample Program by producers and grain companies. Quality data is compiled from the results of analytical tests performed in the Grain Research Laboratory.

ISSN 1920-9037

Growing and harvesting conditions

Figures 1 and 2 show the monthly mean temperature differences from normal in the Prairie region during the 2023 growing season (June and July). Figure 3 displays the total precipitation in the Prairie region from April 1 to October 31, 2023.

Figure 1  Mean temperature difference from normal in the Prairie region from June 1 to June 30, 2023
map
Figure 2  Mean temperature difference from normal in the Prairie region from July 1 to July 31, 2023
map
Figure 3  Total precipitation in the Prairie region from April 1 to October 31, 2023
map

In Manitoba, cold temperatures in early spring slowed the progress of seeding. Warmer than normal temperatures in May allowed seeding operations to advance and seeding was completed by early June. Warm conditions and inadequate moisture in June affected some crops in the central region of Manitoba (Figure 1). Rainfall was variable throughout the growing season (Figure 3). Growing conditions were good except for low topsoil moisture for crops seeded late. Cool temperatures in July helped crops in some areas thrive under dry conditions (Figure 2). By the end of July, crops started to ripen prematurely in some fields due to persistently warm and dry conditions. Harvest began in mid-August and was completed by mid-September. Lentil yields varied, depending on precipitation.

In Saskatchewan, seeding began in early May and was completed by early June. Warm temperatures and timely rain in the southeast, east-central, northeast and northwest regions were beneficial for plant growth (Figures 1, 2 and 3). Warm and persistently dry conditions in the southwest and west-central regions, however, caused crops to mature early and resulted in an early harvest (Figure 3). Harvest progressed smoothly and all of the lentils were in bins by mid-September. Lentil yields also varied throughout Saskatchewan, depending on precipitation.

In Alberta, unseasonably warm temperatures allowed seeding to begin in early May and be completed by early June. Hot, dry and windy weather depleted soil moisture in June and July, stressing and maturing plants more quickly than normal (Figures 1 and 2). Harvest began in early August in the south and central regions due to dry conditions but was delayed due to wet and cool conditions in the northern parts of the province (Figure 3). By mid-September the lentil harvest was near completion. Lentil yields were higher than the five-year provincial average in the northwest and northeast regions, but lower in other regions.

Production

Lentil production in 2023 was estimated to be 1.7 million tonnes, which is 27.3% lower than in 2022 and 30% lower than the 10-year average of 2.4 million tonnes (Table 1). The lower production is due to a 14.6% decrease in yield and a 14.8% decrease in harvested area compared to 2022. Saskatchewan continues to dominate lentil production in western Canada, accounting for 90.7% of production, while Alberta accounts for 9.3%.

Table 1  Production statistics for 2023 western Canadian lentilsFootnote a
Location Harvested area
(thousand hectares)
Production
(thousand tonnes)
Yield
(kg/ha)
Mean production
(thousand tonnes)
2023 2022 2023 2022 2023 2022 2013-2022
Manitoba no data no data no data no data no data no data no data
Saskatchewan 1273 1491 1515 1964 1190 1317 2154
AlbertaFootnote b 187 223 156 335 836 1504 233
Western Canada 1460 1714 1671 2299 1145 1341 2387
Table 1 Notes
Table 1 Note 1

Source: Statistics Canada.

Return to table 1 note a referrer

Table 1 Note 2

Includes the Peace River area of British Columbia.

Return to table 1 note b referrer

Harvest samples

Samples were submitted to the Canadian Grain Commission’s Harvest Sample Program by lentil producers and grain companies across western Canada (Figure 4). The program received 343 lentil samples, consisting of 138 green lentil samples and 205 red lentil samples.

Figure 4  Origin of 2023 lentil samples received by the Canadian Grain Commission’s Harvest Sample Program
image description

All samples were graded and analyzed for protein content and seed size distribution. Seed size (small, medium and large) was determined using image analysis. Composites prepared for green lentils (No. 1 and No. 2 Canada combined) were based on seed size and crop region. Composites prepared for red lentils (No. 1 and No. 2 Canada combined) were based on crop region and variety.

The composite samples were tested for:

  • moisture content
  • protein content
  • starch content
  • total dietary fiber content
  • crude fat content
  • ash content
  • mineral content
  • 100-seed weight
  • water absorption

The dehulling quality characteristics of red lentils were also evaluated.

The samples reported by grade do not necessarily represent the actual distribution of the grade across western Canada.

Protein content

Protein content ranged from 24.7% to 30.6% for green lentils (Table 2) and from 23.4% to 30.2% for red lentils (Table 3). The mean protein content was higher for green lentils (27.5%) but lower for red lentils (27.4%) compared to 2022. The mean protein content of green and red lentils combined was higher than the 10-year mean of 26.7% (Figure 5). Tables 4 and 5 list the mean protein and starch content of green and red lentils, respectively, according to crop region (Figure 6).

Table 2  Protein content (%, dry basis) for 2023 western Canadian green lentils by gradeFootnote 1

Lentils, No. 1 Canada
Location Number of samples 2023 2022
Mean Minimum Maximum Mean
Saskatchewan 25 27.9 26.0 30.6 27.7
Alberta no data no data no data no data no data
Western Canada 25 27.9 26.0 30.6 27.7
Lentils, No. 2 Canada
Location Number of samples 2023 2022
Mean Minimum Maximum Mean
Saskatchewan 98 27.4 24.8 30.0 27.1
Alberta 6 27.3 25.6 28.4 27.2
Western Canada 104 27.4 24.8 30.0 27.1
Lentils, Extra No. 3 Canada
Location Number of samples 2023 2022
Mean Minimum Maximum Mean
Saskatchewan 4 27.8 26.7 29.1 27.8
Alberta 2 27.9 27.6 28.3 no data
Western Canada 6 27.9 26.7 29.1 27.8
Lentils, No. 3 Canada
Location Number of samples 2023 2022
Mean Minimum Maximum Mean
Saskatchewan 4 26.8 24.7 29.2 27.3
Alberta no data no data no data no data no data
Western Canada 4 26.8 24.7 29.2 27.3
All grades
Location Number of samples 2023 2022
Mean Minimum Maximum Mean
Saskatchewan 131 27.5 24.7 30.6 27.2
Alberta 8 27.5 25.6 28.4 27.2
Western Canada 139 27.5 24.7 30.6 27.2

Table 3  Protein content (%, dry basis) for 2023 western Canadian red lentils by gradeFootnote 1

Lentils, No. 1 Canada
Location Number of samples 2023 2022
Mean Minimum Maximum Mean
Saskatchewan 148 27.3 23.4 30.2 27.4
Alberta 13 28.2 26.1 29.5 28.4
Western Canada 161 27.4 23.4 30.2 27.5
Lentils, No. 2 Canada
Location Number of samples 2023 2022
Mean Minimum Maximum Mean
Saskatchewan 28 27.5 25.7 29.5 28.2
Alberta 5 27.6 26.3 28.8 28.8
Western Canada 33 27.5 25.7 29.5 28.3
Lentils, Extra No. 3 Canada
Location Number of samples 2023 2022
Mean Minimum Maximum Mean
Saskatchewan 6 27.8 26.5 29.4 27.5
Alberta no data no data no data no data no data
Western Canada 6 27.8 26.5 29.4 27.5
Lentils, No. 3 Canada
Location Number of samples 2023 2022
Mean Minimum Maximum Mean
Saskatchewan 3 27.1 26.7 27.5 28.3
Alberta no data no data no data no data no data
Western Canada 3 27.1 26.7 27.5 28.3
All grades
Location Number of samples 2023 2022
Mean Minimum Maximum Mean
Saskatchewan 185 27.4 23.4 30.2 27.5
Alberta 18 28.1 26.1 29.5 28.5
Western Canada 203 27.4 23.4 30.2 27.6
Figure 5  Mean protein content (%, dry basis) of western Canadian lentils from 2013 to 2023
Figure 5 description to follow
Graph data
Mean protein content
Crop year Protein content (%, dry basis)
2013 26.5
2014 27.0
2015 25.9
2016 27.1
2017 25.6
2018 26.5
2019 27.2
2020 27.7
2021 27.5
2022 27.5
2023 27.5
Figure 6  Crop regions in western Canada
Figure 6 description to follow
Description

Manitoba crop regions: 1 (Southwest Manitoba), 2 (Northwest Manitoba), and 3 (Eastern Manitoba); Saskatchewan crop regions: 4 (Southeast Saskatchewan), 5 (Southwest Saskatchewan), 6 (Northeast Saskatchewan), and 7 (Northwest Saskatchewan); Alberta crop regions: 8 (Southern Alberta), 9 (Central Alberta), and 10 (Northern Alberta).

Table 4  Mean protein and starch content (%, dry basis) for 2023 western Canadian green lentils by crop region
Crop region Protein content Starch content
2023 2022 2023 2022
4 27.3 27.0 46.0 45.9
5 27.5 27.1 47.4 46.2
6 27.2 no data 46.9 no data
8 26.9 27.6 47.0 46.4
Table 5  Mean protein and starch content (%, dry basis) for 2023 western Canadian red lentils by crop region
Crop region Protein content Starch content
2023 2022 2023 2022
4 27.5 27.0 45.5 45.2
5 27.5 27.7 46.1 45.5
6 26.7 27.1 46.2 45.3
7 26.9 27.1 46.1 44.8
8 28.3 28.5 46.0 44.0

Green lentils

Table 6 contains the 2023 quality data for green lentil composites according to seed size. Small green lentils had higher mean protein (28.3%) and starch (46.6%) content but lower total dietary fiber (13.4%), crude fat (0.82%) and ash (2.3%) content than in 2022. Large green lentils had higher protein (27.3%) and starch (46.8%) content but lower ash (2.5%) content than in 2022. Total dietary fiber (14.1%) and crude fat content (0.86%) of the large green lentils were similar between 2023 and 2022. Medium green lentils had lower protein (25.8%) and ash (2.3%) content but higher starch (47.6%), total dietary fiber (14.2%) and crude fat (0.87%) content compared to 2022.

Potassium (K) was the most abundant macroelement present in green lentils, followed by phosphorus (P), magnesium (Mg) and calcium (Ca). Among the microelements, iron (Fe) was the most abundant, followed by zinc (Zn), manganese (Mn) and copper (Cu). All three sizes of green lentils had lower levels of all elements compared to 2022.

In general, the 100-seed weight of small, medium and large green lentils was lower than in 2022. Water absorption per gram of seeds for large green lentils (1.02 grams water per gram of seeds) was the same as in 2022 but was higher for small and medium green lentils (0.98 and 0.99 grams water per gram of seeds).

Image analysis was used to determine the seed size distribution of green lentils (Table 7). The reported results may differ from those obtained by conventional sieving techniques. Small green lentils had a similar size distribution in 2023 and 2022. Medium and large green lentils had a greater percentage of seeds with smaller sizes in 2023 than in 2022. For medium green lentils, the proportion of seeds with a diameter less than 5 mm was 36.9%, greater than in 2022 (30.5%). For large green lentils, the proportion of seeds with a diameter less than 6.5 mm was 81.6%, greater than in 2022 (65.3%).

Table 6  Quality data for 2023 western Canadian green lentil composites by sizeFootnote 2

Chemical composition
Quality parameter 2023 2022
SLFootnote 3 MLFootnote 4 LLFootnote 5 SL ML LL
Moisture, % 10.4 10.8 10.7 9.7 9.4 9.9
Protein, %, dry basis 28.3 25.8 27.3 27.6 26.0 26.9
Starch, %, dry basis 46.6 47.6 46.8 45.7 47.1 46.2
Total dietary fiber, %, dry basis 13.4 14.2 14.1 14.2 13.4 14.1
Crude fat, %, dry basis 0.82 0.87 0.86 0.92 0.83 0.86
Ash, %, dry basis 2.3 2.3 2.5 2.9 2.6 2.9
Mineral contentFootnote 6
Quality parameter 2023 2022
SLFootnote 3 MLFootnote 4 LLFootnote 5 SL ML LL
Calcium, mg/100 g sample 66.0 69.1 63.5 67.0 79.6 70.9
Copper, mg/100 g sample 1.0 0.8 0.9 1.2 0.9 1.0
Iron, mg/100 g sample 7.5 6.1 7.0 8.6 6.8 7.4
Potassium, mg/100 g sample 921.6 951.0 1004.3 1130.7 1072.7 1145.5
Magnesium, mg/100 g sample 107.2 113.8 115.0 119.0 124.7 125.2
Manganese, mg/100 g sample 1.1 1.3 1.2 1.6 1.8 1.6
Phosphorus, mg/100 g sample 317.3 298.9 357.7 443.4 345.4 442.7
Zinc, mg/100 g sample 3.0 3.7 3.5 3.9 4.4 4.1
Physical characteristics
Quality parameter 2023 2022
SLFootnote 3 MLFootnote 4 LLFootnote 5 SL ML LL
100-seed weight, g/100 seeds 2.9 5.1 6.4 3.0 5.3 6.7
Water absorption, g H2O/g seeds 0.98 0.99 1.02 0.93 0.97 1.02
Table 7  Seed size distribution of 2023 western Canadian green lentilsFootnote 7
Seed size distribution 2023 2022
SLFootnote 3 MLFootnote 4 LLFootnote 5 SL ML LL
<3.5 mm, % 1.9 0.0 0.0 2.4 0.0 0.0
3.5 to 4.0 mm, % 15.1 0.0 0.1 14.9 0.4 0.1
4.0 to 4.5 mm, % 42.6 0.0 0.0 43.8 0.8 0.1
4.5 to 5.0 mm, % 37.8 7.1 1.5 36.0 6.5 1.3
5.0 to 5.5 mm, % 2.6 29.7 7.4 2.8 22.8 5.2
5.5 to 6.0 mm, % 0.0 43.8 25.8 0.0 53.0 19.5
6.0 to 6.5 mm, % 0.0 19.2 46.9 0.0 16.3 39.2
6.5 to 7.0 mm, % 0.0 0.0 17.4 0.0 0.2 31.1
7.0 to 7.5 mm, % 0.0 0.0 1.0 0.0 0.0 3.6
>7.5 mm, % 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

Red lentils

Table 8 contains the 2023 quality data for red lentils. The mean starch (46.0%) and crude fat content (0.95%) were higher compared to 2022, while the total dietary fiber (14.2%) and ash content (2.3%) were lower. The mean protein and copper content of red lentils did not differ much between 2023 and 2022. For all other elements, levels were lower in red lentils than in 2022. The mean seed weight (4.1 grams per 100 seeds) was higher and the mean water absorption (0.96 grams water per gram of seeds) was lower than in 2022.

The mean dehulling efficiency (77.0%) and the percentages of powders and broken seeds for red lentils were higher in 2023 than in 2022 (Table 8). The percentage of undehulled whole seeds was lower compared to 2022. The colour of dehulled lentils was measured using a Hunterlab LabScan XE spectrocolorimeter with the CIE L*, a* and b* colour scale. The brightness (L*) of whole lentils and splits was similar to 2022. Dehulled whole red lentils exhibited less redness (a*) and yellowness (b*), and the dehulled splits had more redness (a*) and less yellowness (b*) than in 2022. There was little difference in seed size between 2022 and 2023, with 60.7% of red lentils having a diameter less than 5.0 mm in both years (Table 9).

Table 8  Quality data for 2023 western Canadian red lentilsFootnote 2Footnote 8

Chemical composition
Quality parameter 2023 2022
Moisture, % 10.4 9.5
Protein, %, dry basis 27.4 27.5
Starch, %, dry basis 46.0 45.2
Total dietary fiber, %, dry basis 14.2 15.2
Crude fat, %, dry basis 0.95 0.76
Ash content, %, dry basis 2.3 2.7
Mineral contentFootnote 6
Quality parameter 2023 2022
Calcium, mg/100 g sample 68.0 72.6
Copper, mg/100 g sample 0.9 0.9
Iron, mg/100 g sample 6.9 8.0
Potassium, mg/100 g sample 926.4 1034.1
Magnesium, mg/100 g sample 107.5 116.2
Manganese, mg/100 g sample 1.3 1.6
Phosphorus, mg/100 g sample 326.0 399.8
Zinc, mg/100 g sample 3.6 4.0
Physical characteristics
Quality parameter 2023 2022
100-seed weight, g/100 seeds 4.1 3.7
Water absorption, g H2O/g seeds 0.96 0.98
Dehulling quality
Quality parameter 2023 2022
Dehulling efficiency, % 77.0 76.6
Powder, % 4.7 3.9
Broken seeds, % 4.0 3.2
Un-dehulled whole seeds, % 1.4 2.4
Colour of dehulled seedsFootnote 9
Quality parameter 2023 2022
Whole Splits Whole Splits
Brightness, L* 61.0 62.9 60.9 62.9
Redness, a* 29.8 31.2 30.2 30.8
Yellowness, b* 37.2 39.6 38.7 40.2
Table 9  Seed size distribution of 2023 western Canadian red lentilsFootnote 7Footnote 8
Seed size distribution 2023 2022
<3.5 mm, % 0.4 0.7
3.5 to 4.0 mm, % 3.2 4.5
4.0 to 4.5 mm, % 16.5 18.2
4.5 to 5.0 mm, % 40.7 37.4
5.0 to 5.5 mm, % 28.2 26.6
5.5 to 6.0 mm, % 10.0 11.3
6.0 to 6.5 mm, % 1.0 1.4
6.5 to 7.0 mm, % 0.2 0.0
>7.0 mm, % 0.0 0.0

Acknowledgements

The Grain Research Laboratory acknowledges the cooperation of western Canadian pulse processors, producers and grain companies in supplying the samples of newly harvested lentils. We also are grateful to the following groups within the Canadian Grain Commission: Industry Services for assistance with grading samples; the Pulse Research Program staff for technical assistance; the staff of the trace elements unit for mineral analysis; and Multimedia services for their assistance in the publication of this document.

Date modified: