PGRO Pulse Market Update February 2015

France

New crop 2015 sowing of peas and beans started in all regions in France during January and February interrupted only by periods of rain. Winter sown peas look good and have been prevented from being too advanced by winter hardening frosts.

Analysis of 2014 crop beans shows an increase in varieties now common in the UK market with Fuego Fanfare and Boxer taking an increased share, which is anticipated to expand this year. Crop area increased to 76, 400ha and average yields exceeded 4t/ha. Export figures have been revised down again and at 120, 000t to Egypt are less than half of the figure of 2010/11. Bean exports to the EU are down to levels last seen in 1997/8 but exports to Norway’s fish farming increased again.

Other European countries as previously reported are starting to increase faba bean from a very low level. Production from N Europe – Baltic States, Scandinavia and Poland are at a low level but they are currently likely free from Bruchid pressure and potentially present a threat to the UK export market if they get the quality right.

Australian bean crop 2014 has been confirmed at a lower level 251,000t v 313,000t 2013 v 377,000t 2012 harvest. In combination with the poor French bean quality and high price demands this has been helping support the price for Human consumption quality produce in the UK.

Feed beans prices continue high though there appear to be few sellers.

Prices at the end of February ex farm were approximately £220/t ex farm representing a huge premium over feed what of around £105/t. However trading of the old crop appears to be all but complete and attention has turned to the new crop 2015 and at these levels the prices are generally too high for the major feed interest.

New crop prices already offered are following commodity prices down retaining a healthy £35t premium over feed wheat. At these levels beans are again likely to be too dear for major feed consumption and growers could well consider decisions to sell ahead. Growers however will not be aiming for the feed bean market and are far more likely to be interested in premiums available for export quality. Premiums and prices are unlikely to fall until the human consumption market is saturated. Growers will inevitably focus on the immediate market value but should plan ahead and remind themselves of the additional and multiple benefits of bean production in the wider rotation.

Human consumption beans

Demand is still present in the market but there are few sellers and the last vessels to leave for these markets until new crop will be in March.

For forward sellers new crop prices are realising a £30 premium over feed beans but as always this is critically dependent upon achieving human consumption quality. Unusually early demand is already present for crop 2015- a good omen. Growers need to focus on quality- minimal Bruchid damage but equally importantly the preservation of colour and a clean uniform visual appearance. Consistent attention to detail from pre-sowing through to crop storage post harvest is critical and growers should pay to potential market pressures as new crop comes off.

Combining Peas

Old crop Blue peas are trading at circa £220/t ex at best. The market has had a large quantity of good quality available from both the UK and international markets. The core market for micronizing peas seems to have shrunk on the back of 3 years of high prices and has changed direction with pet food processors using just 10% inclusion.

Good prices remain available for new crop of good quality (circa £200/t)

Marrowfat peas are a UK product and prices continue firm without supply. It is very important that this market is satisfied in the near future as continued and sustained lack of availability will have negative long term consequences for market development and interest. As with beans quality is critical. Uniformity and freedom from mechanical and insect damage and above all colour retention.

The rewards for Marrowfat pea growing are huge with prices at around £350/t ex but the penalty for failure to achieve the grade is to sell at a £10 discount to feed beans (forward at £150/t ex).


Agronomy Note:

Drilling

It is not late. Don’t panic. Wait for the right soil conditions before drilling. Both peas and beans will respond negatively to being put into poor or damaged soil conditions.

Weevil threat

With warm weather forecast in the next 10 days all crops close to emergence will be at threat from weevils as they emerge looking for food. Check the status of drilled crops to judge the risk and act accordingly. Products used for weevil control will also control thrips.

Pre-emergence herbicides

Effective pre-emergence herbicide applications are dependent on moisture. Additional factors such as cloddy seed beds can also influence whether good weed control is achieved. Rolling helps conserve moisture, break up clods and depress stones. Application using appropriate angled nozzles may help if the surface is cloddy. Although rolling after drilling is preferred appreciate that when conditions below ground are wet it may cause undesirable compaction.

Seed availability

It is understood that there is still retail availability of leading bean varieties for 2015 sowing.