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 (inc International Year of Pulses 2016)

Press Release from PGRO & BEPA (01.04.16)

"With spring bean drilling in full swing for what is likely to be the main period for 2016, the market is looking forward to a similar area to that harvested in 2015,” comments Roger Vickers, Chief Executive of PGRO. “That said, the area is not accurately understood and the winter bean crop area is believed to be a little less than for crop 2015. The last two years have seen generally good crop performances for pulses in the UK - will the coming months be similarly conducive to yields?”

Looking at Domestic Markets, Chris Collings, President of BEPA, comments that the bean market seems to be well supplied in all areas at present and this has seen prices fall slightly in the last 3-4 weeks following a significant rise since the New Year. These roller coaster effects in the market are not untypical in the early months of each year with market destinations opening and closing as buyers take stock of demand and purchase positions. Interest in UK pulses for all established markets remains good for both old crop and the coming new crop harvest.

* Old crop requirements for Feed Beans for the January-April period have largely been covered. Prices have hardly changed for some time and remain in the range approximately £120-130 ex depending upon the location. Demand will typically fall as cattle turn out to grass from the end of April. It is difficult to know how much produce has gone into the feed market, but it is safely judged to have at least doubled year on year. The product is liked by the buyers in terms of processing and feed quality and they are now looking to cover requirements over the summer. This is all good news and providing strong assurances for utilisation of crop 2016.

New crop prices are presently similar to old, but with wheat still lingering at around £105/t, feed beans are offered a premium of approximately £25/t. Trade of both old and new crop is taking place.

* The market for Human Consumption Beans appears to be temporarily oversupplied from all destinations with a 17,000t cargo from Australia en route to the Egyptian market. Values have slipped slightly as a result, falling from their recent highs of £160/t ex to current levels of £145/t ex.

The produce from Lithuania has been well received, being bruchid-free and was generally of lower price for early movement. In Egypt, buyers will be looking to source from Lithuania ex 2016 with enthusiasm. Of course, this origin is new as suppliers to the market and has yet to build a reputation for consistency and reliability - a position that UK trade has enjoyed for many years and the reason why UK beans remain in the leading position. Egyptian currency was recently devalued by over 12% and currency availability is still an issue, though falls in GBP values have continued to assist exporters. Australian crop 2015 was reported at circa 320,000t, up 12% on 2014. The area, however, increased by 75% reflecting weather related cropping issues. The Sudanese market will reopen in June for containerised shipments from May, which may provide late opportunities for remaining old crop of the right quality.

Quality remains the watchword for human consumption beans. Samples with a good enough visual appearance are now quite hard to source, with colour darkening in storage, an issue that growers need to constantly bear in mind. The outlook for 2016 crop remains good - demand for exports in excess of 240,000 tonnes can be anticipated if the UK can deliver the right quality. Early intelligence suggests French crop area is likely to be down further and Lithuanian/NE European areas to remain much the same.

* For Combining Peas, any free market Marrowfat pea crops remaining could fetch £275-£300/t ex farm, though it is believed there are few available.

The cold start to spring and delays to early sowings whilst soil conditions improve are raising questions about any potential yield impact in the trade. At this stage, the concern is only slight. New crop contract values remain at £280-£300/t ex farm.

With the increased export interest for Large Blue peas, their value has continued to rise from the very low levels seen over the past few months. Even the paler samples have risen - though not in proportion to the better quality, strongly-coloured samples desired by the export markets. Only a small surplus is now anticipated. Old crop values range from £145-£170/t ex. New crop is also trading with values £160-£200/t ex depending upon quality and location.

There is currently no trade in the UK for Yellow peas. It is viewed that the unexpectedly higher than normal values seen in 2015 are less likely for new crop, with large and normally strong production areas viewed with ability to supply.

Press Release from PGRO & BEPA (03.03.16)

"As growers gear up and anticipate the drilling of 2016’s spring crops, trading of the old crop continues apace,” comments Roger Vickers, Chief Executive of PGRO. "In recent weeks the value of UK pulse crops have taken a turn upwards, as the market bottomed out and recent trade has removed some of the remaining stock from the market place."

Looking at Domestic Markets, Chris Collings, President of BEPA, comments that interest in UK pulses for domestic and export trade remains good and bodes well for the produce of harvest 2016. Markets are good, demand is good - and even though the prices are not as high as growers would like, compared to other commodity crops, the outlook for pulses looks relatively strong.

Feed beans have continued to rise in value slightly through recent weeks. Current values are around £127/t ex with short sellers trying to take cover. The most perplexing issue appears now to be the lack of beans in the market. Where have they gone? Growers saving seed for spring sowing and sellers holding back until the change of the tax year might provide some of the answer, but by no means all. The lack of a firm grip on UK supply and demand remains a conundrum.

New crop contracts are available with a value of £135/t ex with up to £10- £20/t on specifications as a non-default premium. Alternatively, the specification premiums are available without a base price guarantee.

Human consumption beans continue to be affected by the moisture levels experienced at harvest and, in many cases, less than ideal drying and storing conditions. Grains have oxidised, darkened in store and missed the grade as a result. Further decreases in the value of Sterling continues to help exporters, driving interest with buyers of UK crop. There appear to be few sellers of human consumption quality, but prices of up to £160 ex farm are available for the very best - a premium of around £35/t over feed. Whilst increasing demand alongside decreasing availability is pushing prices upwards, as the year progresses, the opportunity to consign bulk vessel quantities dwindles. And though containerised exports remain a possibility, packages of good quality produce brought to the market late may miss the opportunity this market currently represents.

UK sellers are vulnerable to the problems of unenforceable contracts, dampening the enthusiasm for forward trading of 2016 crop at this early stage. Lack of adherence to contracts by export buyers, if the market moves against them, puts sellers in a potentially unenviable position. UK growers are currently showing little interest in marketing their new season crop.

For combining peas, the story remains the same for marrowfats and little if any remains in the market that is off contract. Nominal values are suggested at £250-270/t ex, with values for new crop circa £250-275/t ex. There remains strong demand from growers, but contracts and seed availability are now in short supply. Marrowfats are moving steadily through the trade and it is anticipated that there will only be a small carryover if any at all. Export demand is beginning to increase and it is evident that the snack market is playing an important part in the continued growth of the industry.

Large blue pea exports to Northern European destinations and further afield have been strong recently. Due to Canadian prices and demand from India, blue peas are starting to move in large tonnages. Prices have increased proportionally. This demand for blues is likely to continue - especially as the UK quality has been universally accepted due to its unrivalled traceability and quality standards. It is significant that, due to this, Canada is now trying to source UK blue peas.

Any surplus as the new crop comes to harvest is now likely to be manageable - an ideal situation that will allow continuity of supply to be maintained into the domestic and export markets. This is a good sign for producers as markets and buyers will remain interested and engaged presenting a profitable outcome for the grower, so long as quality is maintained. New crop prices are indicated at up to £180/t ex and some production contracts remain available. Demand for old crop remains with values around £150-160 /t ex.

For many years, yellow peas have been grown in tiny quantities in the UK with a domestic production of perhaps just 2000 tonnes. Values are usually uncompetitive vs. imports, but prices for yellow peas in 2015/16 have attracted significant attention and it is anticipated that the area grown in 2016 will rise significantly in percentage terms. There is currently no trade, but nominal values are suggested at circa £165/t ex.