THE MARKET FOR FEED BEANS CONTINUES TO ENTHUSIASTICALLY SUPPORT THE AVAILABLE CROP

"As in November, the market for feed beans continues to enthusiastically support the available UK crop, " comments Roger Vickers, Chief Executive of PGRO. "This is great news for the UK grower in establishing likely continuity of demand for increasing future supplies. In turn, prices have seen an upturn from their recent lows. In short - better news all round."

Looking at Domestic Markets, Chris Collings, President of BEPA, comments that, since Christmas, feed beans have had plenty of takers in the domestic feed market which in turn has put upward pressure on the price as short sellers covered their positions. Prices have held at around £125/t ex. Beans are a solid source of good quality protein and offer excellent utilisation in the ration. The current supply situation in the UK is not known for certain, but ex crop 2015 it was estimated that circa 580,000t of beans would be available to trade.

For Human Consumption beans, the recent decrease in the value of Sterling has helped exporters significantly. Containerised exports are strong with increasing demand pushing up prices from recent low levels. The premium on human consumption quality samples is circa £25/t over feed values, placing the best quality grains at £150/t ex farm. Quality as always remains the key to securing goods into this market.

With increasing competition for these markets quality production will become ever more important and the cleanliness and visual appeal of the sample remains critical. The "would you eat it" test.

For Combining Peas, marrowfat peas IF 2015 is available valued at circa £250/t plus ex Farm for good samples. Prices are increasing against lack of open market availability. Values are set to hold up from crop 2016 with most merchants now effectively sold out of seed for contracts such has been the early grower interest in this crop. Nominal values for crop 2016 circa £250-275/t ex.

Large blue peas have seen some some trade interest since the turn of the year, and the feeling is that a significant carry over into the new season is now less likely. Supply remains plentiful but ex farm values have risen a little lately to circa £150/t.

New crop micronizing quality is circa £160/t offered but currently with little activity.

With renewed good supplies end users have taken a little time to come back after shortages but demand is rising. Poor samples as always are discounted to feed value circa £115/t ex, a discount of £10/t on feed beans.

In International Markets, effectively French bean production is not being exported to Egypt at the present time. Quality from 2015 cannot compete in the human consumption market. Exports within Europe continue into the feed and fish feed processing markets.

Elsewhere in the EU, production from Eastern Europe has proven to be of acceptable quality in the human consumption market and this source of production will become serious competition in the future, especially for the split bean market. It is thought that product is now effectively sold out and for now UK product is considered generally of better provenance. This will continue to drive the need for high quality samples from UK farms.

In Egypt, currency availability continues to be the main complication in bulk export trades, but UK currency weakness is assisting a drive in demand.

Demand in the Sudan has been good, but the window to this market is now closed.

Exports from Australia to the traditional Egyptian markets have been slowed by high prices. Currency values and demand from other markets mean they are currently circa US$100 higher than UK. Quality remains very good - though perhaps with slightly reduced availability.