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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French early indications are that the crop is again inferior to the UK produce and smaller in volume which bodes well for the prospects of UK crop marketing.

Canadian crops continue to face serious issues. Harvest is becoming late, it is wet and crops are becoming bleached. This may present opportunities in European markets for UK produce later in the year. Transport across Canada is also affecting prices. Rail haulage is problematic, competing with other uses and road transport is significantly more expensive. It was noted recently that 20 train cars carrying peas were overturned in a transport accident. There are few if any offers out of Canada at the moment.

Feed beans are all but harvested, with just a few isolated crops still to gather. In general the crop has yielded well and whilst bruchid damage is higher than last year it is about average for recent times. Roughly ¼ of the crop sits firmly in the feed bean bracket with a further ½ of mixed quality potential. The market is currently faced with significant purchase opportunities and the prices for feed beans have fallen. Current values are approximately £165- 175/t ex farm and feed buyers are more or less trading to requirements, the supply chain requirement is full. This and falling commodity prices in general is having a downward effect on values.

Human consumption bean export markets were extremely active at the start of the month as French crops were late to harvest. Perhaps following uncertainty in the referendum and associated currency movements interest stalled. The supply chain is nicely stocked as vessels sail but demand is still there. About half of the UK crop is of variable quality, better than feed but not quite top grade for Human consumption. It is important the market continues supplying the best quality, to maintain the UK reputation and keep the demand for UK produce over French high. A circa £35/t premium over feed beans exists and demand is still good. As the best quality produce is consumed the premium is likely to reduce. In 6 to 8 weeks time the market will also face competition from the new Australian crop. Growers with good quality samples are likely to be tempted to sell now to achieve the best prices.

Combining Peas

Blue peas have yielded well with many reporting averages typically around 4t/ha. Quality is generally also good but this means that the buyers are able to source to requirements and the market is generally flat. Previously reported soaking issues are believed linked to early crop dormancy and where present are expected to disappear. News from Canada indicates potential opportunities may arise in export markets later in the year but the current ex farm price is typically £220- 230/ t. Poor samples will take a heavy hit.

Marrowfat pea prices remain strong. 2014 UK yields have been disappointing in general. The trade started in a clean position having not managed to recover a stock position since the 2012 crop year. The market is effectively already sold out. Prices for remaining parcels of peas are high (circa £350/t ex farm). Quality has also been disappointing with significant moth damage perhaps highlighting a need for greater attention to monitoring at field level and improved timing of control measures.

Agronomy notes


Bruchid beetles appearing in grain heaps will cause no additional damage if not controlled. Take advice from your grain merchant regarding their control requirements.

Metaldehyde Stewardship

Take metaldehyde stewardship seriously to minimise the negative impact on agriculture and the crop protection industry. For more information visit

Winter bean drilling

Don’t be in too much of a hurry. The ideal time recommended is earliest last week in October. Beans up too early will suffer disproportional winter damage and early disease. Be patient and wait for the end of October/ early November before drilling. Alleviate and avoid soil compaction and use the intervening time to “stale seed bed”.

Farm Saved Seed

For all your questions regarding farm saved seed:



Pea and bean weevil and bruchid beetle are common pests in UK legumes. Damage caused by the weevil adult is visible as notching around the leaf margins and, although this damage doesn’t usually significantly affect yield, the eggs laid during feeding produce larvae which feed in the nitrogen-fixing root nodules of peas and beans, resulting in yield loss. Damage caused by bruchid beetle is visible as holes in the seed, affecting quality and value to the grower.

“Following discussions with growers over recent years, it has become apparent that current control using spray applications have become less effective,” says Becky Ward, Principal Technical Officer at PGRO. “We believe this is either due to increasing pest pressure, or possibly decreased efficacy of pyrethroid insecticides.”

“As a result of this feedback, PGRO, Rothamsted Research, Oecos, Exosect Ltd and BASF plc are undertaking research to design and produce a control system for beetle pests of peas and beans, which does not use blanket sprays of insecticides.

“Instead, the beetles will be lured to simple devices, baited with beetle-specific attractive odours, where they will be coated with spores of an insect fungal disease. When they leave the device they will spread the disease to other beetles like them.

“This will reduce pest beetle numbers and damage to the crops without damage to the environment or other beneficial and non-target insects such as pollinating bees.

“The insect fungal disease occurs naturally in the soil in the UK and does not pose a risk to other animals. The attractants used are either insect-produced (a specific pheromone) or are odours produced by flowering peas and beans.

“The spores and the attractants will be prepared in a novel formulation that is electrostatically charged and sticks to the beetle's body and is passed on to other beetles when they meet.”

Monitoring systems are already available which detect adults when they begin migrating in the early spring. The systems comprise traps containing pheromone lures or plant semio-chemicals and are used to aid spray application decision-making. The aim of this new project is to provide effective and environmentally-friendly biological control of both pea and bean weevil and bruchid beetle.

The project is partially funded by Innovate UK and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, with additional support from industry partners PGRO, BASF plc, Oecos and Exosect Ltd.

“The partners are starting detailed work on the project in October with research and investigations being carried out over the next four years,” adds Becky Ward.

Leaf notching in beans caused by pea and bean weevil
Leaf notching caused by pea and bean weevil
Pea and bean weevil larvae feeding in root nodules
Larvae feeding in root nodules
Adult pea and bean weevil
Adult weevil