GROWING CONFIDENCE IN PULSE CROP REFLECTED AT PGRO AGM AND PULSE FIELD DAY

The UK pulse industry is looking ahead with growing confidence as the excellent performance and returns for the 2014 crop are carried forward to the 2015 crop and beyond. This was the strong message from Roger Vickers, PGRO Chief Executive, speaking at the organisations’s AGM and at the Pulse Field Day held at Stubton, Notts.

“In 2014, near ideal conditions during the growing season resulted in overall excellent yields and good prices. In fact, for a significant number of PGRO pulse levy payers, the 2014 crop became one of their top performers in terms of financial returns.

“Non-cereal cropping, such as peas and beans, has been given a boost by CAP reforms that are targeted to achieve wider rotations and reductions on active ingredients for other arable crops. The initial effects of these reforms were evident in the increased sowings of winter beans in autumn 2014 and spring beans this year.”

At the nearby PGRO Pulse Field Day, Mr Vickers joined growers, agronomists and trade members where the PGRO team demonstrated the wide range of trials on show. “We have responded to observations that some of our trials could be better located on typical pulse growing soils by concluding an agreement with Beeswax Farming to extend our trial locations - we now have six sites in eastern England with varying soil types well-suited for pulse growing.

“At the Stubton site we have a comprehensive set of trials demonstrating combining peas and field beans – from current and new varieties in the PGRO RL trials system through to research-focused demonstrations and displays on projects such as Optibean, BruchidCast and Sitona. These are carried out in collaboration with other leading research organisations including Rothamsted Research and the John Innes Centre. In addition, we have a substantial set of confidential work carried out with our commercial partners.

“Indeed, it is worth noting that private sector and Government sponsored work accounts for around half of PGRO’s research activities and funding, with the equally-valuable income from the growers pulse levy providing the other part.”

Roger Vickers added that 2016 will be the United Nations International Year of Pulses: “All at PGRO will do their part to use the year as a platform to promote the future of the UK pulse crop as CAP reform, improved varieties, agronomy-focused research and market opportunities take us to a new level of pulse growing.”

Becky Ward, PGRO Principal Technical Officer with Prof Toby Bruce, Rothamsted Research, with poster display of ‘Lure-and-kill technology to manage beetle pests.’