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-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.




With the old crop pulses largely sold, there is little activity in the pulse market at the moment. Prices have fallen from their high point of the spring reflecting a full supply chain. There is currently little interest from sellers or buyers for forward positions. A calm period before trading resumes closer to the anticipated UK new crop harvest.

International overview


Canadian producers are, for the second year, expected to have quantities of field beans suitable for human consumption available for export. The crop area is increasing in Canada and could potentially provide additional competition for European and Australian in the future.


Australian bean crop is now satisfying the main export markets with a full supply chain until the new European crop comes in.


French pulse crop in 2014 is widely believed to be at the same level as 2013 (peas 122,00ha / beans 67,000ha). With a significantly poorer harvest than average last year, the French bean market may well be better supplied in 2014. As in the UK, Pulse crops are currently suffering from weevil damage, but growing conditions are generally good.


Egypt has around 80,000 tonnes arriving in April, hence the market is fully supplied for some time. Government initiatives to try      and increase production locally do not appear to be working for beans, with growers preferring to focus on wheat and other crops.


Sudan shows no market interest. Buyers may emerge in May / June.



Field Beans - general

New crop drilling has been in full swing. The trade is now trying to gather as much intelligence as possible about the potential size of the 2014 bean crop. It is uncertain how much area has been drilled this spring. Estimates range from a 0% to 15% decline over 2013 crop. Given that winter bean sowings were significantly higher but from a low level in 2013, UK field bean supply post harvest may be similar to 2013, given a good growing season ahead.


Feed Beans

Trading of the old crop is all but over with prices nominally at around £255/t ex farm. There are very few sellers and almost no domestic or export demand.


New crop prices are also almost nominal as, quite understandably, there are no sellers so far ahead of harvest and little if any interest from buyers. Prices for feed beans ex crop 2014 are suggested at around £220/t ex farm. This suggests that for any parcels of stock left on farm the best prices have been missed.


New crop prices remain at a premium of around £60/t over feed wheat, and with oilseed rape prices netting under £300/t, beans continue to look a very attractive proposition for growers.



Human Consumption Beans

Demand for beans for export for human consumption has completely dried up. The market is now fully supplied from recently arrived bulk shipments from Australia. Now new demand is expected ahead of new crop.


Nominal premiums over feed bean prices for new crop are suggested at £20-£30/t.


Combining Peas

There has been little market movement or interest in the last month. Farm stocks are most probably exhausted. Good green samples of marrowfats still retain a premium over paler samples, but premiums have fallen to around £30/t.


Good samples of blue peas are still valued and retain a £40/t premium over poor quality paler samples. Feed peas typically currently trade at around £240/t.