British Edible Pulses Association (BEPA)uses of pulses

BEPA is the trade association representing the processors and users of British-produced pulse (mainly combining peas and field beans) crops. BEPA’s key objectives are to liaise with UK government and other national and international associations, & encourage the consumption of home-produced pulses by promoting their value as healthy, high-protein and high-fibre foods, and to liaise with crop scientists and plant breeders.

Andy Bury, President BEPAOur website brings you the history of BEPA, contact information for all our members, BEPA in the press and media, the latest pulse market prices, and an introduction to the many end uses for UK-produced pulses.

We also give details of the main BEPA contacts - if you would like to know more about BEPA, and the important role pulses play in the UK's agricultural and food sectors, please ask us!

Andy Bury, President

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Forthcoming Events

PGRO Crop Update (04.04.14)

PGRO Weevil notching around leaf edges in winter beansInsect pests

Emergence of pea and bean weevils from over-wintering sites continues to be high and continuous due to the warm, dry weather. High levels of damage are being recorded in winter bean crops, and newly emerging spring bean and pea crops are at high risk.

Small seedlings are showing significant notching around the edges of leaves. Although crops should grow away from the foliar damage whilst weather stays mild, the adult weevils will lay eggs which are washed into the soil, hatching to allow larvae to feed on root nodules.

Sprays should be applied as soon as leaf-notching is seen. There are a number of pyrethroid products available for use in peas and beans for weevil control, and consideration should be given to products that will be used later in the season for bruchid beetle control, paying particular attention to maximum annual dose rates and number of applications allowed.

Field thrips infestations are also being reported and products used for weevil control will give good control of thrips.

Downy mildew in field beansDiseases - Field beans

Early-drilled crops of winter beans (end September to early October) are developing high levels of downy mildew. Although this disease can be found on both autumn and spring-drilled crops, autumn-sown crops do not usually develop severe symptoms and seldom require treatment, the disease being more damaging in spring beans.

However, conditions for downy mildew development have been favourable with cool humid weather prevailing, and early-drilled autumn crops may be more susceptible. If conditions become warm and dry following early infection, disease development stops and the plants are able to produce new healthy growth.

In cases where 25% or more plants are infected in winter or spring beans, sprays including the active ingredient metalaxyl-M will give good control of downy mildew. This level of infection is usually found at early flower stage but can be earlier when conditions are favourable.

Note that Folio Gold has been revoked for use in field beans. SL567A (metalaxyl-M) has Extension of Authorisation for Minor Use (EAMU) in field beans for downy mildew control and should be mixed with a partner fungicide. Wakil-XL (EAMU in field beans) seed treatment will control primary downy mildew infection.



International overview

Canada       Reports indicate that the logistic issues causing problems with Canadian exports from crop 2013 are recognised as serious and official action is being undertaken to alleviate them for the future. With further large pulse crops anticipated from 2014 crop, swift changes / improvements could make Canadian crops more attractive/less problematic in coming years.

Australia    The bean crop is making its way to Egypt with approximately 50,000t expected to arrive in bulk vessels shortly.

France       Bean exports are mainly going to markets for processing and splitting as quality issues continue from 2013 crop. Exports of just 2000t in January are reported and are almost 90,000t down on the July–January year on year comparison. Most new plantings of pulse crops are complete and, in general, good conditions prevail with crops progressing nicely. The bean crop area is slightly up, but anticipated yield is reduced. The initial forecast of bean availability from crop 2014 indicates a reduction of approximately 50,000t compared to 2013 crop. French exports of peas into Europe continue at about 15,000-20,000t per month with the main destination being Belgium, but interest has slowed lately.

Egypt         The domestic bean market crop appears to have been around 200,000-250,000t. 25% of this is broad beans which, though prized for their larger size, are largely exported. The market and supply chain appears to remain full at this time with little buying interest. Any demand that is anticipated to return in the run up to the religious festivals may be fulfilled with the Australian crop. This year Ramadan falls 28th June to 7th July.

Sudan         Possible buying interest for this market may emerge in May/June.


Field Beans - general New crop drilling has been full steam ahead in March with high soil temperatures. Localised heavy rain showers that have topped up already very wet soils in some places, adding frustration for some growers. Some ground is still too wet to drill, but there is no need for panic at this stage. The sowing window remains open for a while yet. Initial talk of a much reduced spring bean area in 2014 seems to have fallen away - the feeling is now that the area sown will be similar to that of 2013.

There is little interest in trading the new bean crop at this stage, with growers generally not prepared to commit before they have the crop drilled and nicely established. In recent years, trading beans ahead of harvest has been difficult with sellers reluctant.

Feed Beans Trading of the old crop is at around £260/t ex farm. There is local demand from extruders and, although the higher price may temper the demand from the summer fish feed market, significant requirement is still anticipated. There has been discussion that the historic close link between the price of feed beans and premium over feed wheat may have been broken. If this is the case, then there is a fundamental market change with feed bean prices holding at a significantly higher level.

Human Consumption Beans Human consumption beans are now trading at parity with feed beans. Human consumption demand is very slow (although approx. 30,000t has departed the UK in the last 4 weeks) but the demand for the feed market is holding up. New crop premiums are available at circa £20-£25/t over feed beans but there is no demand from either side.

Combining Peas The picture has changed little from last month with blue peas in surplus and falling in value, remaining stocks are of paler colour and poorer quality, overstocking this niche. The larger Canadian crop and reduced winter consumption have put pressure on price, but good colour and quality samples will still command a £20 premium. The emphasis for growers has to be on good quality and colour retention at harvest to maximise returns. A large Canadian crop is again anticipated from 2014 harvest.

The marrowfat market remains stronger. National stocks will likely be exhausted ahead of new crop with strong and growing exports to the far east. Prices circa £350/t are still achievable for good quality samples and production contracts at a similar level remain available for 2014 crop. New crop prices are likely to remain at current levels.

Yellow peas play a small place in the UK the market demand is very weak at this time. Growers of yellow peas are generally advised to produce on a buy back contract.


Soil still wet? 

Do not panic - although time is running along, the recommendation remains to wait for soil conditions to come right.

 Pest alert        

Pea and bean weevils emerged in large numbers during the warmer days two weeks ago. These pests are in crops now and will cause potentially heavy damage to any crops emerging in the next 10 days or so. Field thrips will be particularly active on stony soils and in the recent cool dry conditions. The treatment for weevils will also control field thrips. Check the recommendations on the PGRO web site and Technical Bulletins:

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 FAQs on farm saving seed:

Cropping area

Recent reports indicate that, whilst the winter cropping area was up 14% over 2013, it has not recovered to the 2012 crop level. Is this showing a trending increase in spring cropping, or just that the generally open autumn window closed suddenly?