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

  click to open/download the latest PGRO Pulse Magazine
Forthcoming Events

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.”

PGRO Crop Update 1 - 4th March 2015

Sowing rate of spring beans and peas

The optimum plant density for spring beans is 45-55 plants per sq. m established. Use the following to calculate seed rate (Allow for a 5 - 10% seed bed loss).

Seed rate kg/ha =
thousand seed weight x target
populations plants/m²


  % germination   100 – (field loss)

The calculation is also used for peas and optimum plant populations are as follows:
Marrowfats – 65-70 plants per square m
Large blues and whites – 70 plants per square m
Small blues – 70 plants per square m
Zero 4 (small blue) – 110 plants per square m

Don’t rush planting – it’s better to wait for good soil conditions rather than try to stick to calendar dates.

If possible, choose varieties with good downy mildew resistance or apply a seed treatment for control of primary downy mildew. This will also give control of seed-borne diseases such as Ascochyta pisi and Mycosphaerella pinodes. Downy mildew is a soil-borne disease that can affect yield and quality. Details of the relative resistance to downy mildew can be found in the PGRO Pulse Agronomy Guide, which includes the PGRO Recommended List of peas. This is available on our website at

Pre-emergence herbicides

Cost effective pre-emergence herbicide options are dependent on moisture availability. Additional factors such as cloddy seed beds can influence whether adequate weed control is achieved. Rolling helps conserve moisture and break up clods, and application with appropriate angled nozzles may help if the surface is cloddy.

Several pre-emergence products and tank mixes are available for combining peas and spring beans. In addition to Nirvana, Centium, various pendimethalin products (approved for peas, EAMU beans) and Defy (EAMU beans only), Afalon (linuron) and Linzone/Lingo (linuron + clomazone) are also approved for use in combining peas and spring beans. Dual Gold (S-metolachlor) has an EAMU in beans. Stallion Syn tec (pendimethalin + clomazone) has approval in both spring peas and beans.

Pea and bean weevil

Pea and bean weevils are likely to become active at the weekend as temperature increases. Spring peas and beans that will emerge in the next two to three weeks will be at most risk of damage as they emerge. Although foliar damage doesn’t generally cause a problem, crop growth may be delayed if damage is severe at very early emergence. Spraying will prevent egg laying and larval damage to root nodules. If you have a history of severe damage in spring peas or beans, particularly in drier areas, a pyrethroid spray should be applied at first signs of leaf-notching, and a second spray ten to fourteen days later. Winter beans may suffer less damage as they are generally well established by the time weevils are active.

Field thrips

Field thrips may be present in peas and beans, and damage is generally more severe in dry, cold springs. Early sown spring peas and beans, growing on calcareous soils with a high proportion of stones, are most susceptible to damage. Shoots of newly emerged seedlings are pale and distorted and growth can be retarded. Leaflets may be puckered and leathery with small translucent spots on the leaf surface. Beans may develop a rust colour on the under-surface of leaves. Thrips can be found within the developing growing point and if cold weather persists, peas can remain stunted and not recover. Prompt treatment of newly emerging seedlings is essential where there is a history of severe thrips damage.