LENTIL prices are at sky high levels of $1000 a tonne, after a tight finish to the Australian season.
The price offered for the pulse shot up more than $100 in a week to peak at $1015 last week for nipper lentils delivered to Port Adelaide.
The same price has been offered for lentils this week in Victoria.
Australian Milling Group chief executive and Pulse Australia chairman Peter Wilson said limited production for last season’s harvest meant reduced supply.
Another factor was the strong demand for Australian lentils because of the local crop’s high quality and the world’s largest pulse exporter, Canada, experienced quality downgrades this year.
“The market is shopping for very high quality lentils … there is more demand today than there is supply,” Mr Wilson said.
But he warned prices had probably peaked, as Australia had started pricing itself out of the market.
“There is demand internationally for these values, but it is sporadic,” Mr Wilson said.
Chick pea prices are also high, with Victorian desi prices at $550 — $585 a tonne.
Mr Wilson said smaller winter crop plantings in India, of which chick peas make up a significant amount, was down about 2 million ha on the five year sowing average.
He said the poor cropping season on the Eastern seaboard of Australia led to the drawing down of stocks and contributed to the elevated prices.
But he doesn’t believe the current rally will last.