PULSES are providing a shining light for growers as cereal returns flatten on the back of a larger northern hemisphere crop.
Agri Semm principal Peter Semmler said there was a bullish outlook for pulses.
"Lentil prices have been on a positive cycle since the start of the year mainly because of a rise in demand from India," he said.
"The outlook for lentil prices is good, as the area of lentils planted in Canada is down. And in the past week, parts of southern Saskatchewan have been flooded, which has wiped out between 5 per cent and 10pc cent of their lentil crop. They're looking at losses of 50,000 tonnes to 70,000t, from a crop which had been estimated at 700,000t.
"With supply down on previous years, it is looking quite positive for SA growers this coming harvest," Mr Semmler said.
At the moment, lentil prices are about $660/t delivered into Port Adelaide.
"There doesn't seem to be a lot of potential downside, basically because the supply is smaller than it has been the past couple of years," Mr Semmler said.
"Bangladesh and Pakistan haven't been featured buyers in the past month or two, and they have to come back into the market some time."
Mr Semmler said the lentil crop produced by Turkey was also likely to be down this year, further supporting prices.
"I certainly see more upside potential than downside for lentils," he said.
Bean prices were historically high, at about $400/t for new crop.
"With beans, South Australia and Victoria are set to be the beneficiaries of a much reduced area planted in New South Wales, basically because they had no rain from October last year to the middle of June this year," Mr Semmler said.
"The NSW bean area is estimated to be between 30,000 hectares and 40,000ha down on last year.
"Egypt is the market for beans and last season its stocks tended to come from NSW. That demand is now set to flow to SA and Vic.
"But with the political unrest in Egypt, exporters will probably be shipping smaller quantities to limit risk."
Mr Semmler said the demand for peas was firm, particularly into China and India, while the outlook for Kabuli chickpeas was not as rosy, on the back of an enormous crop coming out of India. Likewise, the outlook for Desi chickpeas was bearish, with Pakistan producing a large crop.
Grain Producers SA chief executive Darren Arney said the organisation was encouraging growers to pay close attention to grain marketers' claims on pool returns in the lead-up to harvest 2013-14.
Mr Arney said growers needed to remember that the estimated pool return quoted early in the season did not always accurately reflect the final payment to growers.
"When you're looking at a pool product, you need to make sure you look at the company's performance history and that they have delivered what they promised," he said.
*Full report in Stock Journal, July 4 issue, 2013.