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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Forthcoming Events


Pulse Market Update

French bean size looks like being larger than the disappointing 2013 crop but bruchid levels are reported as being high. Shipments to the export markets are expected to start in September, feedback will determine whether the UK crop is preferred for the second consecutive year.

Canadian crops whilst large are facing some issues. Recent wet weather has seen a down grading of the anticipated harvest estimates. A significant delay in harvesting will result in an increase risk of frost damage. Despite this it seems the overall crop size will have a depressing effect on recent crop values in the UK throughout the season. It is noted that Canada is showing some interest in faba bean production and area is increasing. So far this has had little impact on the main markets but should not be ignored.

Feed beans continue to sit in the field. The very early harvest seen in July was stopped by the disappointing August conditions and the delay in all combinable crops. Yields on average were good circa 5t/ha. There has been significant staining seen in early samples of winter beans, bruchid damage levels seen so far are significantly worse than was seen last year (a year of exceptionally low incidence) and seed size is generally small with splitting an issue. Spring bean samples have so far been far more promising but there remain very significant areas be harvested.

Indications are that demand will remain strong but everyone is sitting on the fence and there is little trading. Markets remain quite static and buyers have been unable to cover enquiries as sellers remain reluctant ahead of safe harvest. Other grain commodity prices have fallen, feed beans have followed accordingly and are currently at around £185/ t ex, still presenting a circa £70/t premium over wheat and attractive compared to OSR at £230-40 per t. Those who committed early have reaped a great reward this year as prices were higher before harvest started.

Human consumption bean export markets also remain quiet, though since Ramadan there have been significant enquiries. Good samples are now commanding a premium of circa £25/ t over feed beans but prices could look dear to the customers compared to feed wheat and with the added burden of currency fluctuations strengthening Stirling ( up 10% on the same time last year). The market really needs the completion of harvest to see what is available and judge quality. Bean contracts for crop 2015 can be obtained at circa £235/t for HC quality.

Combining Peas

Blue peas have generally yielded well and the quality has been good. Significant numbers of early samples are however showing signs of soaking and cooking problems, which if they persist will have a detrimental affect on value. These issues are seen from time to time and can frequently be a more problematic with fresh crop, often dissipating during storage. Strength of the market will be determined by the out turn of the Canadian harvest – still uncertain- and the speed with which crop 2013 stocks are consumed. There is little market activity but good samples are able to fetch up to £230/t for micronizing but poor samples will be hard to shift even at £60/t less

Marrowfat pea prices remain strong. Quality from 2014 harvest appears to be average to good but with samples still to collect there is variability. There has been significant damage from Pea Moth in parts emphasising the need for monitoring this pest. On the whole yields appear to have disappointed, 2.6T/ha has been typical, perhaps restricted by moisture availability during the early summer period. It appears stocks will remain short. Good quality samples will command circa £325-350/t.

Agronomy Note


Don’t forget beans should be taken as soon as ready to preserve the bright, pale skin finish which will slowly deteriorate if left in the field especially as the pods split open. They may stand but there is a real risk of quickly losing any quality premiums. See recent Crop Updates for tips on harvesting storage and drying. Crop Update 8 - Desiccation and Storage was issued 22nd August.

Metaldehyde Stewardship

Defra is appealing to farmers to take metaldehyde stewardship seriously to minimise the negative impact on agriculture and the crop protection industry. For more information on the project and the possibility of slug pellet substitution visit




PGRO-Peas-ready-for-desiccation-Tops-of-plants-and-pods-still-green-and-fleshy“Ideally, both combining peas and field beans are direct combined without the need for desiccation as this adds to costs and application causes crop loss,” advises Jim Scrimshaw, PGRO Principal Technical Officer. “However, this is not always possible, and some crops which are weedy and/or are ripening unevenly will benefit from the timely use of an appropriate product to maintain quality.


“When it comes to choosing a chemical desiccant in peas and beans, the choice is generally between glyphosate and diquat, primarily these will be the ones considered here. There are, however, glufosinate ammonium products also approved.


“Don’t forget that desiccants bring the prospective harvest date forward - they don’t speed up seed maturity. The chemical terminates growth when development is complete allowing a smoother harvest; and harvest planning and can prevent the setting of weed seed.”


Both glyphosate and diquat are non-selective materials Diquat is a true desiccant whilst glyphosate is more a pre-harvest herbicide. A true desiccant rapidly kills above ground growth of both crop and weeds allowing rapid drying and earlier harvest (between 3-7 days after application). It will not give long-term weed control -  particularly of perennials - whereas glyphosate will.


Where persistent perennial weeds are a problem, glyphosate is the product of choice as it is a translocated herbicide acting on plant meristems. Crop effects take longer to materialise and harvest is brought forward more slowly (10 -14 days) compared to diquat.


Glufosinate ammonium products are mainly contact acting, but there is some translocation within the leaves. Crops are ready to harvest 10 -14 days after application.


A good coverage of diquat on crop and weeds is essential and it works best when the crop is beginning to senesce. Activity is dependent on temperature and UV light levels while glyphosate needs plants to be actively growing for the best effect.


Timing of the applications is very important. If desiccation takes place too early then effects can be uneven, stems can de-lignify and crops collapse reducing recoverable yield. Quality may suffer – this is more of a problem with peas - possibly increasing undersized grain and greater chances of shelling out due to the longer delay before combining. Diquat tends to work better on dicot plants (peas and beans) and glyphosate on monocots (cereals).


“Applications of diquat should be made to pea crops which are turning yellow. The bottom pods should be parchment like and the seed hard; pods in the middle should be becoming parchment like, the seed rubbery and squeezable between finger and thumb without splitting; top pods should still be fleshy green /yellow with seed that splits when squeezed.


“If glyphosate is to be used, a crop moisture content of around 30% is suggested before application.


“Desiccation has a slow effect on the relatively thick green stems of field beans and applications should be made when 90% of pods are dry and black. It is suggested that in beans glyphosate should be used specifically as a pre-harvest treatment to control perennial weeds.


“And remember that neither glyphosate or glufosinate ammonium products should be used on crops intended for seed”, adds Jim Scrimshaw.