What are lentils?
Lentil is self-pollinating. Early maturing varieties flower at the 11th or 12th node stage and later maturing varieties at the 13th or 14th node stage. Flowers appear in clusters of two or three at the base of the upper leaves, and flowering will be delayed or flowers will abort in high moisture and high fertility conditions.
- the lentil plant usually has two or more secondary branches rising from the main stem
- the majority of crop yield comes from branches from the uppermost nodes of the main stem, below the first flower node
- seed pods are less than an inch in length and contain one to two seeds
- seeds are lens-shaped with a range of seed coat colours as well as yellow, green or red cotyledons
Where do lentils grow?
A pulse crop that is gaining traction in Alberta, lentils are grown across the province, but primarily in the south, and exported to areas like India, the United Arab Emirates, and Bangladesh. In 2011, Alberta’s pulse growers grew 106,800 metric tonnes of lentils on 135,000 acres – the second highest production of lentils in Canada. Lower input costs and steady demand for this crop makes lentils a good fit for many crop producers.
Will lentils fit in my crop rotation?
Consider growing lentils if…
- You live in Southern Alberta, Central Alberta, or the Peace River Region.
- Your soil pH is between 6.0 and 8.0.
- You’re growing in the Dark Brown or Thin Black soil zones.
- You do not have high levels of flooding or salinity in your fields.
- You’re interested in growing crops for human consumption.
With several lentil varieties to choose from, lentils may be a good fit in your crop rotation. For more information on the varieties of pulse crops in Alberta, please see Alberta Agriculture’s Varieties of Pulse Crops for Alberta.