French crops appear to be developing nicely, although they are currently 2 to 3 weeks behind. Some regional variation is apparent, affected by the cold and rain of the early season. Old crop pea sales were significantly down on the year to date, but bean sales were at a more or less similar level.
Australia has recently received significant rainfall and this has enabled them to plant beans on a similar scale to the 2012 crop.
In Canada, the long winter created doubt about the possibilities for 2013 pea sowing. With the retreat of the snow and significant wet, sowings are behind but catching up rapidly and up to a 5% increase in crop area is anticipated. With stocks at a very low level, the total availability is not expected to be as high as in 2012, and prices ex Canada are expected to remain high.
Indications are that Canada and the USA will both increase their green pea production in 2013 encouraged by the higher prices available compared to yellow peas, despite the greater agronomic risks.
The opportunity for old crop sales is effectively over with limited quantities available ex farm.
Buyers are now showing interest in the new crop with feed beans presenting around £50/t premium over feed wheat. At this level there is interest from growers looking to secure against at least a proportion of their anticipated harvest.
There appears to be some potential Southern European interest in new crop beans driven by the likely value of wheat from crop 2013.
The trade remains optimistic about the new crop. The area sown and the likely yield means availability should be good and, though the premiums are lower than they were from crop 2012, they still represent a good price for growers.
Human Consumption Beans
Export markets are starting to show interest again for June shipments delivering for the period around Ramadan.
Prices for new crop look promising and, whilst the premium is currently lower than for 2012 crop, the new crop is demanding up to £35/t over feed beans. Demand looks to be encouraging so the message to growers is to concentrate on getting the quality of produce for the human consumption grade.
The situation in Egypt remains uncertain with both economic and political pressure building. Despite concern over Egypt's worsening fiscal gap, the International Monetary Fund is still ready to continue talks on a $4.8 billion loan once Cairo completes a review of its economic program.
Local crop quality has been fair from the 170,000 acres sown. Egyptian consumers are struggling with the financial situation and soaring food prices could mean some substitutions in diet preferences.
Blue peas remain in demand for both human consumption and micronising.
Good returns are expected for the crop and high quality blue peas could even fetch more than marrowfats. The retention of colour in the harvested sample is essential to reach the highest premiums and growers should focus on maintaining quality as a priority.
Marrowfat peas have increased in area slightly, but the stocks from old crop are almost nil, so availability will be tight. Good quality will demand a good premium.
The small yellow pea acreage in the UK has been affected by the availability of cheap imports and, if this continues, may do little to encourage speculative growers in this market segment.
There is general optimism for pulses rising on the prospect of good prices for the new crop. After a traumatic cold and wet start the crop now needs some warmth and good growing conditions to deliver its full potential.