"With crops having enjoyed some significant soil moisture and warmth during the month they have developed rapidly," comments Roger Vickers, Chief Executive of PGRO. "Pest and disease pressure has been regional in its intensity with local variability. This spells out the need for growers to be alert to what is happening in their own crops and to attend to the detail.
"It might be an almost tedious message from the trade to growers - but to ensure crops achieve their full potential and deliver the best returns - attention must remain focussed on quality."
Chris Collings, President of BEPA, comments that trading of old crop pulses is essentially over. Concentration is on the movement of stocks to their destinations and positioning of the new crop.
There is no shortage of competition. The Australian bean crop will continue to present a challenge to the UK exporter - but significantly it is beans of Baltic origin that are taking the early position in new crop trading for the season ahead. The crop in France should also not be forgotten as, whilst their presence in the human consumption market has fallen, they are increasingly significant suppliers to the fish feed industry, especially in Norway.
The Egyptian market looks set to grow a little from 2016 as the crop area for local bean production is reported as down by 5%. Total winter crop plantings have dropped 29% and there has been a switch to alternative cash crops. Faba bean requirements are now 95% imported. National annual demand is estimated at approximately 500,000 tonnes, equating to a consumption rate of approximately 6kgs per person.
Feed bean values are being held in check by the general issues surrounding commodity prices and remaining stocks of old crop still on farm as growers release produce held for seed, or product that was not offered up for the human consumption market in time. Current values remain around £125-130/t ex farm.
New crop commitments to significant tonnage is being made by feed compounders, confirming their acceptance of the feed value of beans in the ruminant diet. Commitments at premium levels of £30 above November feed wheat demonstrate good support for UK producers and continuity in market demand. Interest is also supported by underlying background questions concerning worldwide protein availability, increased demand for pulses of all types and the need of buyers to secure continuity.
The export markets for human consumption beans have effectively closed. There is apparently no demand, with the markets fully supplied and cargos still to ship. Anyone hanging on to old crop of human consumption quality is likely to forgo any premium at this time and sell for feed values. The premium for human consumption is effectively zero.
New crop prices are looking favourable at this time and there is interest in forward commitment. Currently premiums over feed value are around £25-30/t ex farm for the best quality, representing a total value of £160/t ex farm (with significant regional variations) and a premium over November wheat of circa £50/t.
Issues around currency availability are unlikely to be solved any time soon and this recurring theme is expected to once again dominate conversations around trading of the new crop.
For combining peas, with very few open markets for marrowfat peas and few associated buyers, any old crop produce left to trade is nominally valued at around £250/t ex. The majority of new crop has been contracted at between £280-£300/t ex. Increased contracting for 2016 harvest is likely to hold the value of any new crop open market production at current old crop levels, with premiums for the very best samples. Little has changed in the month.
Large blue peas have seen little change in the month - export interest has flattened out and values have levelled off too. All eyes are on the new crop and likely outturns. New crop values are estimated at £160-£180/t ex. The best prices will be achieved for high visual quality with good colour retention.
A shortfall in availability of yellow peas from Canada saw a rise in demand for UK produce. There is no carry over, and this demand is thought likely to be short-lived.