Canada Reports anticipate exports will rise to 2.9 million tonnes ex crop 2013-14, but domestic consumption is falling and a large carry forward is anticipated, putting downward pressure on prices. The area seeded in 2014-15 is anticipated to increase still further (possibly up to 10%) to over 1.5M ha. The drivers are attractive crop returns and growing recognition of the value of peas to the crop rotation. Despite this increase in area, a return to more ‘normal’ yields would see availability fall by 10%.
Australia Sellers do not appear actively price competitive in the market and are possibly holding back supplies in the hope of driving human consumption prices upwards ahead of new crop from Europe. A recent ABARES report shows 2013/14 crop is thought to be around 50,000t (13%) lower than 2012/13.
France They are struggling to sell beans into the human consumption export markets, UK feed quality is still better than the best the French market is offering. French exports of peas into Europe and wider afield have risen strongly year on year, up around 30% to 103,000t. The delay in sowing and crop development continues due to the wet cold soil conditions in the central and northern growing regions.
EU Interestingly, Eurostat figures show that EU pea imports grew significantly during 2012/2013 to over 400,000t. Around 45% was from Russia and a further 22% from the Ukraine.
Egypt The markets appear to be satisfied at present with a number of cargos - either en route or awaiting departure in the near future. The supply chain is full and buyer interest has waned, further slowed by high base prices and a strong GBP. Demand is anticipated to return in the run up to the religious festivals. This year Ramadan falls 28th June – 7th July.
Field Beans – general New crop drilling is slow, held up by the weather and wet soil conditions. The sowing window remains open for a few weeks yet. Talk is of spring beans being used to replace failing rape and late sown wheat crops where blackgrass is presenting itself. Growers with stocks ex crop 2013 are thought to be holding fire on selling pending decisions on farm saving seed for 2014 crop. Certified seed is selling retail at £500-550/t. Forward contracts for 2014 crop are available with feed base prices circa £210 ex farm. These are slightly lower than this time last year, reflecting the fall in other grain prices - but still maintaining a very healthy premium over wheat. New crop is anticipated to be similar to 2013 but with an increased proportion in winter beans. Significant interest is emerging for crop 2015 with crop economics, rotational and political issues as the drivers. Oilseed rape is the likely main loser.
Feed Beans Feed beans are driving the price in the market with a £70+ premium over wheat. Growers are reticent and traders committed to supply are driving the price upwards. Prices of around £260 are possible.
Human Consumption Beans With feed prices so high, the premium for human consumption quality has all but disappeared. £5/t may be possible. Sellers are few and far between and the trade sees little opportunity for shipment much before May. New crop premiums are available at circa £20- £30/t over feed.
The Marrowfat market remains stronger. National stocks will again be very low ahead of new crop. Prices circa £350/t are still achievable for good quality samples and production contracts at a similar level remain available for 2014 crop.
Yellow peas play a small place in the UK market, mostly grown on contracts. Free market crop is dominated by Canadian production at this time, putting downward pressure on feed pea prices.
With the recent wet conditions, do not panic - wait for the soil conditions to come right. Recommendations are to sow beans by the end of March. In 2013 many crops were not drilled until mid April - with some significantly later - and still performed well albeit with an exceptional summer that followed.
Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use (EAMU), secured for growers by HDC, has been granted for the use of ‘Microthiol Special’ (80% w/w sulphur) on combining peas (mapp number 06268). Approval holder Cerexagri s.a. Powdery mildew (Erysiphe pisi) develops late in the season, particularly following a period of high daytime temperatures and cool humid nights. It is well known that sulphur application prevents infection by powdery mildew in many crops. The timing of application is critical in peas and should be aimed at the onset of infection at the full flower stage (gs 204).
Farm saving seed? Don’t forget to have it tested at the PGRO for stem nematode and disease loading as well as germination and vigour. For answers to FAQ’s on farm saving seed http://www.bspb.co.uk/farmsavedseed/sg_userfiles/Farm-Saved_Seed_FAQs_FINAL_Aut13.pdf
PULSE ROADSHOWS HIGHLIGHT BENEFITS OF INCLUDING PULSES IN 2014 CROPPING
Interest in spring cropping is growing as farmers come to realise the many benefits of including beans and peas in the rotation. This was evident in the attendance this year at the PGRO/Syngenta joint Roadshows where there was standing room only at some venues.
One of the big attractions for many this year will be the extent to which growing spring pulses can help in the battle against blackgrass. PGRO’s Jim Scrimshaw underlined this by quoting a statement from Rothamsted Research that including a spring-sown crop is likely to be the most beneficial single element in blackgrass control. This should be seen against the background of increasing blackgrass resistance to herbicides across the UK. Blackgrass is so competitive that a relatively low population can reduce yields in autumn-sown crops, he added. As 70-80% per cent of the weed’s emergence occurs in September and October, a reassessment of rotation could well be beneficial.
As a further benefit for pulses, new and improved varieties are now bringing a boost to yields. For example, the new spring bean varieties – Vertigo, Fanfare and Boxer – have shown in trials that these can bring a yield boost of up to 11 per cent over previous market leaders, PGRO’s Steve Belcher stated. “And of the new large blue pea varieties, Campus sets a new yield level, just ahead of Crackerjack, while offering very good standing ability.”
PGRO expert advice at the Roadshows was supplemented by Syngenta’s update of agrochemical inputs and from speakers representing the British Edible Pulse Association (BEPA) who confirmed there has been a marked swing from winter beans to spring being grown in the UK.
“The market for human consumption beans was a good example of the excellent demand for UK-produced pulses,” notes BEPA President Andy Bury. “A prime outlet is the valuable Egyptian market, where demand, despite the country’s struggles, continues to be strong.
“The UK is established as a reliable, quality supplier when competing with France and Australia to supply this market, where quality is paramount. This is particularly true for visual appearance – where uniform size, even colour and minimal bruchid damage is key.”
In summary, adds Roger Vickers, CEO of PGRO: “With pulses, growers have a crop that eases current too-tight wheat/wheat/osr rotations, helps the fight against blackgrass, provides a boost to yields to the following wheat crop – and brings a very worthwhile gross margin. A win-win all round for growers!”