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 January 2015


France - The outlook for pulses in France for 2015 is good but the anticipated increase is predominantly likely to be in peas. There is much more uncertainty in the bean production as the central and eastern areas suffered another bad year ex crop 2014 and there are significant seed quality issues affecting availability for an increase in 2015 crop sowings.

Other European countries are starting to increase faba bean production in their own local markets- Italy Spain Sweden Germany and the Baltic states - produce seen from these locations has not been of Human Consumption quality and areas of production are small.

Canada – The latest Outlook for Principal Field Crops, reports “For pulses and special crops (P&SC) in Canada, production is forecast to increase by 11% to 6.7 Mt, mostly due to higher area seeded, but exports are expected to be marginally lower. Carry-out stocks are forecast to increase to 0.72 Mt versus the 10 year average of about 0.9 Mt.”

The average Canadian pea price is expected to fall from 2013-14, due to a larger proportion of feed quality peas in 2014-15. Green dry peas prices are expected to maintain a premium over yellow dry peas, which are above the historical average, but well below the premium green peas had over yellow peas last year. Total dry pea area is set to increase by about 200,000ha 2014/15.

USA - as relayed by the Canadian report above , the dry pea production is estimated by the USDA at 0.79 Mt, up 10% from 2013-14. This was largely due to a sharp increase in area but average yields. Canadian dry pea exports to the US are forecast to be below the record set in 2013-14, but well above the five year average as evidenced by strong export demand from the August-November period of 2014.

Australian bean crop harvest was mixed and although the area was increased the yield / area was disappointing (down by as much as 20%) There is talk in some areas of a significant increase in production in some areas of Australia from 2015, but sowing is at least 6 months away and given recent experiences there is a lot of uncertainty. The Australian trade has good links in to the expanding Asian, fish (Tilapia) production areas, an alternative market to that targeted by European trade.

Feed beans prices have continued to rise through the winter being dragged along by short sellers and the strong demand into the Export human consumption (HC) market. With prices as high as £215/t ex farm beans have been headed in the opposite direction to most commodity grains, which have been falling in price). At these levels they are too expensive for main stream feed compounders to get excited, especially as alternative protein sources such as rapeseed meal get even cheaper. This is aside from the fact that even if interested buyers cannot be guaranteed a continuity of supply.

Human consumption bean

The old crop HC grades remain very firm. Strong demand in North African for UK produce is keeping prices high. For the very best quality prices ex farm of over £250/t are being realised. Issues for the trade however now include the decreasing availability of offers and a very limited shipping opportunity for bulk cargoes. Growers thinking of holding on could be caught out with nowhere to go. Quality is naturally tending to decline in store and once the old crop interest wanes prices are likely to fall back considerably ahead of the new crop. Having said this the longer the high prices remain the better the outlook for their continuity into the early new crop.

Ramadan ends and the festival season begins 17th July this year. Importers will build stocks ahead of this time.

For crop 2015 the market is following feed wheat with premiums of up to £30 for feed beans and up to an additional £30 for HC grades. Demand is good and the outlook in the market remains strong for UK produce.

Combining Peas

Blue peas were expected to be in larger surplus than has been realised. Stocks are being worked away, although selling into Europe has been made harder with a firming £ v €. Contracts for 2015 crop are offered at around £200/t ex and premiums for quality over feed peas are expected to be circa £40-50/t . With sowing dates at least now at least now in the same calendar year area is expected to rise by 25% and possibly limited by seed availability for varieties of choice the message has to be to growers to focus on quality on the detail of quality production.

Marrowfat pea prices have remained firm for a long time. With almost no free production in the market – most growers opting for contracts at sowing – the situation is unlikely to change. Quality production has to be the focus for all pulse producers but none so important as for the marrow fat grower. With a larger area of 2015 crop known to have been contracted it is hoped by the trade that there will be a good harvest and a carry over produced for 2015/16, enabling the markets to be met and for interests to be developed rather than risk substitution and almost certain eventual market loss. This is a product in demand, a demand that has not been fulfilled for a number of seasons.

Cambridgeshire bean growers ?

Your help required please!

Felicity Bedford, a PhD student at Cambridge University, is working on agri-environment schemes and pollination services and is hoping to validate a model predicting the pollination service provided to field beans by wild pollinators and honeybees across the UK. In order to do this she will survey bee flower visitation to field beans across Cambridgeshire, a region with highly variable predictions of pollinator service, and is hoping to find around 30 farms for surveys across Cambridgeshire. All participant farms will receive a summary of the results and copies of any scientific papers emerging from the project and by taking part in this project, growers would be contributing to our understanding of the requirements of pollinators on agricultural land.

If there are any field bean growers who would be able to offer survey sites for Felicity please contact her at:

Felicity Bedford, PhD Candidate, Conservation Science Group, Zoology Department, Cambridge University. Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Mobile: 07762 107575

Agronomy Note:

Winter beans and Rust

Before the winter set in post Christmas there were samples of winter beans received at the PGRO plant clinic showing infection with Rust. Rust is a dry and warm weather disease associated with the later part of the summer. This is a simple but surprising reflection on the mildness of the weather until the turn of the year.

Seed Testing

It is still not too late to test that seed lot!

For all seed testing of farm saved seed contact Paul Armitage at (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) don’t forget to test for stem nematode too!

Farm Saved Seed For all your questions regarding farm saved seed:

Metaldehyde Stewardship

Take metaldehyde stewardship seriously to minimise the negative impact on agriculture and the crop protection industry. For more information visit



France – the poor quality crop due to Bruchid damage is fuelling demand for UK beans for the main export markets. Export levels for crop 2013 ran to 142,000t and although crop 2014 is currently running  at a similar level the majority of the French production (from a production area of 76,000ha will head to the feed market)November exports have slowed significantly. Interestingly the protein content of the French crop is at a 5 year high, surveyed at dry matter content  28.8% protein. Pea production in France rose (10%) most significant amongst EU producers in 2014. France produces 28% of EU peas.(137,000ha 576,000 t) by far the largest producing country. French feed pea prices rose significantly on the back of increasing Soya meal  and feed wheat prices but there was little trading activity.
Canadian crop situations are still uncertain. Indications were that the area of green pea production had risen 42% but that yellow peas had declined 21% and in October predictions were that total production would fall from 3.95 million tonnes 2013 to 3.5 million tonnes crop 2014 however there is feeling that a slight upward revision may be possible. Demand for yellows is reported as very high in Asia and despite these large numbers supplies may run tight before crop 2015 is harvested. Green pea availability was predicted as a potential threat to the UK market but it appears that damage at harvest may have been significant.
Ukraine, a traditionally strong producer of yellow peas (circa 267,000t crop 2014) is reported to be decreasing pulse production in the face of fierce pressure from low priced Canadian exports in favour of more winter sown crops, corn and soya.
Australian bean crop is mixed. Some droughted but other areas yielded well. Prices realised are higher than UK production with perception of larger and higher quality grain. Arrival in export markets imminent.
Feed beans 
Since the past publication prices have risen quite sharply. The compounders are finding values to be too high over feed wheat for beans to be of significant interest but extruders appear to be short and are active buyers. Prices have risen on the back of short sellers and in line with the recent recovery in other commodity grains. Feed beans are typically making circa £195/ t ex farm.
Human consumption bean export markets seen a marked drop in availability from France and has driven renewed interest in the UK. The need to maintain quality in store is critical with an increasing number of samples seen deteriorating  with mould due to excess moisture or darkening from oxidisation of the skin colour where stored in light conditions.  Sellers are reminded that a shiny bright light coloured seed is required for Human consumption premiums and this needs to be maintained in store post harvest. Concerns about quality is also fuelling the premiums for Human consumption now  running at circa £30 /t over feed beans making them around £225/t ex farm. With rising prices new sellers are appearing in the market taking after a few weeks of apparent reluctance. Demand appears steady.  
Combining Peas
Blue peas little change over the last month with perhaps a firming of £10/t for good quality samples. Uncertainty over Canadian supplies has yet to impact the market. Earlier concerns about cooking and soaking ability has, as earlier suggested eased (though not disappeared)  with maturation in store.
Marrowfat pea prices are likely to continue to remain firm due to lack of availability. A large are of 2015 crop is known to have been contracted and this is likely to stabilise the 2014 crop prices heading into 2015. It is reiterated that it is essential that pea producers focus on quality to ensure the best possible marketing opportunity and price or their produce.
Anderson report – read the predicted effect of EU legislation at
This easily digested report  delivers understanding of  the impact of the imminent  potential further regulation of Ag Chem on pulse production. It can be used as a source of references to lobby for the protection of economically important tools for sustainable effective production on all crops.

Agronomy Note:

Winter bean herbicide
If considering using propyzamide (Kerb) for grass weed control remember it works best in falling temperatures do not rush to apply in the balmy autumn temperatures.
Seed Testing
For all seed testing of farm saved seed contact Paul Armitage at  (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)  don’t forget to test for  stem nematode too!
Farm Saved Seed
For all your questions regarding farm saved seed:
Metaldehyde Stewardship
Take metaldehyde stewardship seriously to minimise the negative impact on agriculture and the crop protection industry. For more
information visit