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.

BEPA President, Chris CollingsOur 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!

Chris Collings, President

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Forthcoming Events


At this time of year we appear to have entered ‘limbo land’. The trading of old crops is almost if not completely finished and with much of the new crop not yet emerging (or possibly even in the ground) the interest in trading the forwards is yet to really excite. Growers with an eye to the markets and trends may however already be thinking about strategic selling forwards. Updates regarding European new crop are similarly unchanged.

PGRO Pulse Market Update - March 2015Alberta Canada reports growing interest in faba bean production. With production at just 30,000 acres 2 years ago it grew to 80,000 acres last year. Reports indicate a further jump to 120,000 acres in 2015 is possible, with knowledge about producing the crop growing rapidly.

Egypt domestic bean production reports are poor. The crop remains small and the crop quality is doubtful. Good news for potential exporters.

Feed beans The market is very quiet. With difficult circumstances in the human consumption market for the last 6 weeks or so, remaining old crop beans may be destined for the feed market. The price for feed at circa £160/t ex farm however remains too high for major compounders to become interested, with continuity of supply remaining a significant issue. New crop discussions centre around prices of £160/t ex farm but with little grower interest. As with all commodities prices have fallen and anticipated anecdotal increases in spring crop area of 20-25% are doing nothing to dissuade this at this early stage of the season.

There are suggestions that when the new crop arrives there will be strong interest in good quality crops which may command a significant premium over feed and that feed beans prices may come under pressure as the premium expands.

New feed markets will be actively targeted by the trade and optimism remains high for the crop movement.

Human consumption beans

The Egyptian government has restricted payment for goods in Dollars. Demand is still present in the export market but issues around currency for payment in the Egyptian economy are prevalent and traders understandably reluctant to exposure. Premiums for human consumption remain at £20- 30 over feed but the general feeling is that this market may well be over for the season (see above –any remaining stock could be looking for a feed market home).

As a larger new crop is predicted it will be a message of the importance of delivering quality produce that growers will need to take home.

Australian sellers are already active in the market for new crop. Unusually early activity from the southern hemisphere.

Combining Peas

The market is saturated with samples of large blue peas and the higher prices of late are gradually falling in line with the new crop contracts. With just 4 months before the first of the new crop peas are harvested the message here must be to focus remain on harvesting a top quality product.

Contracts remain available albeit at open priced agreements.

For marrowfat peas the story remains unchanged. Long since sold out apparently any good quality stocks unsold could easily command £400 / t ex farm. Even with an increased crop area there seems no immediate let up in demand, so prices seem set to stay high for at least the next 18 months.

Agronomy Note:


Wait for the right soil conditions before drilling. Both peas and beans will respond negatively to being put into poor or damaged soil conditions.

Weevil threat

Temperatures have cooled in recent days and sown crops are emerging more slowly. Check the status of drilled crops to judge the risk and act accordingly. Products used for weevil control will also control thrips.

Pre-emergence herbicides

Effective pre-emergence herbicide applications are dependent on moisture. Additional factors such as cloddy seed beds can also influence whether good weed control is achieved. Rolling helps conserve moisture, break up clods and depress stones. Application using appropriate angled nozzles may help if the surface is cloddy. Although rolling after drilling is preferred appreciate that when conditions below ground are wet it may cause undesirable compaction.

PGRO Press Release: Increased Pulse Crop in 2015 & Beyond is Underpinned by Yield & Agronomic Advances

The skills of plant breeders, added to advances in breeding and genetic technology, have transformed the yield and agronomic characters of pulse varieties for UK growers over just a few decades and form a firm base for the increased pulse crop area in 2015 and beyond.

PGRO trials programme underpins the Recommended List varietal evaluation“It is a fact that UK bean yields seen in PGRO Recommended Lists have risen approximately 30% since the mid 1960s for spring beans, with winter beans showing similar improvements since the mid 1970s,” points out Roger Vickers, PGRO Chief Executive. “Peas are more difficult to assess as each type of pea requires its own breeding and assessment programme. However, since the 1980s, breeders have again succeeded in increasing variety performance of white, marrowfat, large and small blue peas by around 25-35%.

“These yield increases gives a firm base for the increased pulse crop area that we will surely see in 2015 and beyond driven by the 5% Ecological Focus Areas (EFA) requirement under CAP greening rules, as well as the new Crop Diversification rules (CD).

“There have also been major improvements in the agronomic characteristics that show up in the PGRO Recommended Lists. For example, development by breeders has produced today’s pea varieties with a transformation in plant habit to produce semi-leafless peas along with improvements in standing ability, disease resistance and maturity improvements that have all contributed significantly to productivity.

“We need to remember that breeding pulse varieties that perform in the UK is a specialist operation - varieties that perform well in our maritime climate rarely do well in continental Europe and vice versa. So it is good news that the breeders continue to deliver the gains they do given the niche nature of the market and the costs of maintaining a programme and the sustained investment levels required to make progress.

“Also the combining pea area is split across five distinctly different types of pea with the bean market similarly split between spring and winter types so, given the fragmented nature of the market, rewards for the breeder are hard to realise.

“With the renewed focus on rotations and cropping patterns and the recent changes in CAP reform there is considerable grower enthusiasm for pulses in 2015/2016 and it is anticipated that the area grown may increase by as much as 30%, with traders reporting significant opportunities for growers and a continuing strong market. The improvements in varieties seen in recent years - and in the breeders varietal pipeline - will help to sustain this growth in the pulse crop.”