British Edible Pulses Association (BEPA)

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.

Franek Smith, President of 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!

Franek Smith, President of BEPA.

British Edible Pulses Association (BEPA)
Future Pulse Events
Future Pulse Events

LATEST NEWS FROM BEPA

FEBRUARY 2017

THERE REMAIN STRONG DRIVERS FOR SPRING CROPPING AND PULSES ARE AN INTEGRAL PART OF THE OPTIONS AVAILABLE ...

DRILLING

“Exporters of beans have been struggling to find buyers in the human consumption market and opportunities now appear closed until the new crop harvest, except for some container shipments,” comments Roger Vickers, Chief Executive of PGRO. “Peas appear to be in shorter supply than had been anticipated, particularly good quality blues.

“Uncertainty exists as to how much land will be committed to pulses in the UK in spring 2017 with different reports suggesting either a further slight increase or a slipping back.

“Whilst the UK trade is slightly pessimistic in terms of area expectations in 2017, there remain strong drivers for spring cropping and pulses are an integral part of the options available with significant value in the rotation over and above their commodity price.

“Winter sown beans look generally good, and some spring sowings have already been made, however, the majority still awaits the right soil and weather conditions before drilling.”

Franek Smith, President of BEPA, reports the Australian Faba bean crop has apparently been the largest in living memory on the back of terrific growing conditions. This has inevitably impacted the market, though perhaps not as much as might have been anticipated. The Baltic bean crop for 2016, based on French estimates, indicates production reached 212,000 tonnes (3-4 times that of 2014 crop), however, the region has yet to establish a reputation for consistent good quality. French Faba bean production fell to 238,000t (2/3 of the 2014 harvest levels) but exports to Norway have risen significantly. Early sown peas in France look good.

The market for Human Consumption Beans is effectively over, with volumes thought to be approximately half that of the 2015 crop. Willing sellers of quality samples are difficult for traders to find and the buyers are simply not there. The availability of currency has further tightened, and the competition of better quality Australian crop strangled the end of the market for UK traders. Initially, Australian crop was available at just a small premium to UK produce but this premium has now eroded, further discouraging buyers of UK produce. The consequence of this is the complete erosion of any human consumption premium available presenting unacceptable risk in trade. The remaining pockets to be sold will very likely head for the feed market. New crop bean business is being traded with a base price of circa £150/t ex (based on a premium of £20-22/t over November wheat). Any human consumption premium is unknown at this stage - possibly an additional £15-£25/t.

Feed beans continue in demand though it may not be long before the processors start to slow down as the spring arrives. Prices briefly topped £170/t in mid-February before slipping back slightly. It could be that the next 6-8 weeks represent the best opportunity to sell ahead of the new crop. It is suggested that current oilseed rape and comparative values will continue to drive the compounder’s interests. New crop feed trade is possible with interest starting at a premium of £20-£22/t over November wheat futures. The markets report a groundswell of interest in the continued supply of UK beans into the feed market going forwards. This would be a welcome intent of a longer-term commitment to the UK crop.

Marrowfat peas remains unchanged from recent reports. Open market sellers may be finding it hard to move produce into premium markets and may need to sit on crop for a while longer. Limited contracts for 2017 production are available. Quality parameters may for be very specific contracts with wide movement windows. Values circa £235-240/t ex.

The market for Large blue peas may now be looking short in this sector. Interest remains strong for good quality samples. Values are rising slightly and it is anticipated the crop area may increase in 2017. Feed quality is discounted to beans but both have risen and values are circa £155-£160/t ex. Second quality bleached samples can reach £190/t ex and the very best quality first grade is now very hard to find. Contracts for crop 2017 are available with likely min/max offers circa £170-£200/t ex with options for movement before March.

Yellow peas are also now short/non-existent and the crop area for 2017 harvest is expected to rise from a very low level after two seasons of relatively good performance in the wider international markets and fewer quality issues for growers. Contracts are available for crop 2017 with nominal values estimated at circa £170/t plus.

JANUARY 2017

"Since the more or less stagnant days at the end of the year, a lot has changed in pulse markets," comments Roger Vickers, Chief Executive of PGRO. "Confirmation of a huge crop of good quality Faba beans in Australia has had a significant effect on the UK export markets, while a shortage of beans on offer in the domestic market has impacted the values for feed."

January 2017Chris Collings, President of BEPA, reports that the Australian crop is estimated at between 550-600,000 tonnes, perhaps the largest on record, with exceptional yields in 2016 of 2.5t/ha from the same crop area. This means some focus has been taken off more immediate European competitor origins. Meanwhile, the main export market buyers have been in significant difficulty with yet further weakening of the Egyptian pound. In some cases, indebtedness has more than doubled almost overnight, and some importers are believed to be unable to honour their contracts.

The Sudanese market - smaller but still important – is now effectively closed as the annual February delivery window shuts to protect domestic production.

The continuing rise in oilseed rape prices has furthered Faba bean demand by the UK feed industry and short sellers have been forced back into the market to cover their commitments. This is in the context of oilseed rape production being 30% down in 2016, based on Defra farming statistics, while pulse crop sowing forecasts for 2016-17 vary between plus 10% to minus 6%, emphasising that there are a lot of cropping decisions still to be made.

The market for Human Consumption Beans is apparently almost closed through lack of buyers and extreme competition with good quality availability from Australia, as a result, UK exports are about half of those a year ago.

This time last year, Australian 'fiesta' beans commanded a premium to UK origin of US$100/t. A year later the premium is just US$15/t. Australian beans are generally perceived of top quality, being of generally larger size, colour and bruchid free.

Values have been eroded by supply volumes and market demand. Where offers can be found, values are currently trading at circa £160/t ex farm - which represents as little as a £5/t premium. Late sellers for human consumption may see premiums eroded completely.

Trade for crop 2017 is being made in this market with max/min offers of £10-£40 premiums over November feed beans, with a base price of £152 ex farm.

Feed Beans continue to be in demand. Some short sellers are being forced to cover commitments at higher prices, which is in turn persuading some growers to hang on further. Feed prices have risen significantly in recent weeks and are now around £155/t ex farm for March collection. Rising commodity prices elsewhere are also helping to present beans as an attractive option as feed ingredients, further supporting demand. The value of Sterling means UK suppliers are able to capitalise on any export feed opportunities.

Feed bean trade for crop 2017 is already taking place, with offers in the region of £152/t ex farm, circa £12-£15 over November wheat futures.

Marrowfat peas see traders still clearing their contracts, and open market sellers aiming to reach premium human consumption markets may be finding it hard to move produce. The situation remains unchanged from recent reports.

Contracts for 2017 production are available, though now very limited. Quality parameters may be very specific concerning waste and damage. Contract values circa £235-240/t ex farm with wide movement windows. The market for Large blue peas is strong - especially for good quality. Feed quality is discounted to beans and values are circa £147/t ex farm. Bleached samples (>10%) that soak and cook well can reach £178/t ex, whilst the very best quality - now hard to find - are fetching circa £210-215/t ex farm.

Contracts for crop 2017 are available with likely min/max offers circa £170 - £200/t ex farm with options for movement before May.

No trade is reported for Yellow peas. Strong demand has seen all offers of sale absorbed earlier in the season. Parcels available are estimated at £40/t over feed.

Contracts are available for crop 2017 with nominal values estimated at circa £170/t plus.