PGRO PULSE MARKET UPDATE (01.08.14)

In the UK, EU CAP reform announcements have continued to further stimulate already strong interest in the 2015 crop. This political announcement is on top of the well-rehearsed agronomic benefits, issues associated with short rotation cereals/oilseed rape and falling commodity values. Pea contracts are generally full until after harvest. Certified seed availability may limit the rate of expansion for at least a couple of seasons and help minimise spikes in the market. Bean contracts are also selling well and some forecast winter beans to come back to a level of circa 65, 000ha in 2015.

French beans look like being of better quality this year and will again compete in the export market. Eastern regions suffered lower yield in dry conditions, but with their earlier availability than UK produce, it will remain to be seen whether the markets prefer the UK quality. French pea production is mainly yellow peas and therefore competes less with UK marrowfat and blue pea production but nonetheless puts a base price in the market for pea products. Early pea harvests were good but some heavy rains caused losses.

Canadian pea exports are set to rise with increased demand from China and the USA. However, high stocks are anticipated and will push pea prices downwards. Green peas are anticipated to retain their premium over yellows. Increased demand is expected from India during the next 12 months. Crop 2015 is expected to increase significantly - possibly up to 21% (1.6 million ha) due to the recognition of the benefits of peas in the rotation and their relative value to other commodity crops. Despite this, yields are forecast to return to a lower level.

USA forecast for 2014-15 that dry peas will rise 8% above the current harvest high to 0.78 million tonnes.

Markets are expanding and new markets are developing for UK produced peas and beans. Good quality is needed to both secure and cement the UK’s reputation for quality at home and abroad. Poor quality produce will struggle to find a home and will in all probability suffer a significant price penalty.

A significant increase in crop area will inevitably result in a downward pressure on price, however, it is important to stress that this is relative to other commodity grains and in this respect pulses have held up remarkably well, continuing to hold a significant premium forwards. A lower market value also represents an opportunity, as with lower prices demand will also increase.

Local buyers are set to return more robustly in animal feed aquaculture - also, brand new markets are opening in snack foods and alternative uses for pulse flour and protein are applied.

PGRO is available and ready to assist growers with their concerns and enquiries about agronomy and how to achieve both optimum yield and good quality produce.

Feed beans

Crops continue to grow in the warm moist conditions and some early sown winter beans have ‘brackled’ in the recent strong winds, which may cause a problem with quality and yield if the plants suffer drought stress before the seeds are mature.

It is a static market with buyers reluctant to commit ahead of the crop and with uncertainty in the supply chain. As a result of the grain and oil seed rape markets falling dramatically, feed beans have followed accordingly affecting the spring bean value respectively. Feed beans prices are currently around £185 ex with little interest.

Human Consumption beans

Export markets remain quiet and the market appears to be waiting for Ramadan and the festival of Eid (the religious holiday celebrated by Muslims that marks the end of Ramadan) to end at the beginning of August. As a result, trading is sluggish and values appear to be sliding a little as a result. Spring beans do, however, now command a premium of £15-20 over feed. Importers can see significant stocks in the local market and cargos from Australia have been larger than the previous year. French crop is being offered in the Egyptian market at US$480/T bulk delivered. Bruchid levels will be determined after harvest when all round quality can properly be evaluated.

Currency values will present challenges to exporters with exchange rates at USD1.7/ £ making imports more expensive for customers.

Combining Peas

Harvest started mid July and it appears that there will be some by-passed vining peas making their way into the early dry pea market too. Most pea crops in the southeast have been desiccated, and despite the regional downpours, subsequent dry weather should see them fine.

Quality is expected to be good, but locally yield and quality may have suffered if caught with poor weather. With harvest underway, the markets are changing as expected but with very few samples to guide at present, markets will change in the forthcoming weeks.

The blue pea market is currently being affected by cheap Canadian imports. Superior samples with good colour can command a premium of around £40 at +/-£280/t ex, but low grade and pale blues will be very difficult to market and at a discount £100/t. Once more samples have been seen and a better feel for the quality and yield of this season’s crop is gauged, the market will fluctuate accordingly.

Marrowfat peas are strong with nil stocks. Good quality samples will command circa £325-350/t

Agronomy note

Rust

With dry weather and hot temperatures - combined with humid nights - conditions are ideal for the development and spread of bean rust and disease pressure is high.? Rust spreads rapidly and quickly defoliates bean plants. If pods are still filling it is worth spraying.?Products based on Chlorothanil / cyproconazole and tebuconazole give control.?Treat as soon as seen.??

Harvest

Growers should focus on harvest timing. Peas need to be taken when the majority of the crop is ready. Harvesting with slightly higher than ideal moisture and drying back will help preserve the all-important colour. Beans too should be taken as soon as ready to preserve the bright, pale skin finish which will deteriorate if left in the field. They may stand, but there is a real risk of quickly losing any quality premiums.