Pulse Market Update January 2015

Commentary

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: feb39@cam.ac.uk 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 www.pgro.org (email: paul@pgro.org) don’t forget to test for stem nematode too!

Farm Saved Seed For all your questions regarding farm saved seed: http://www.bspb.co.uk/farmsavedseed/index.php

Metaldehyde Stewardship

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