International overview

Canada       Reports indicate that the logistic issues causing problems with Canadian exports from crop 2013 are recognised as serious and official action is being undertaken to alleviate them for the future. With further large pulse crops anticipated from 2014 crop, swift changes / improvements could make Canadian crops more attractive/less problematic in coming years.

Australia    The bean crop is making its way to Egypt with approximately 50,000t expected to arrive in bulk vessels shortly.

France       Bean exports are mainly going to markets for processing and splitting as quality issues continue from 2013 crop. Exports of just 2000t in January are reported and are almost 90,000t down on the July–January year on year comparison. Most new plantings of pulse crops are complete and, in general, good conditions prevail with crops progressing nicely. The bean crop area is slightly up, but anticipated yield is reduced. The initial forecast of bean availability from crop 2014 indicates a reduction of approximately 50,000t compared to 2013 crop. French exports of peas into Europe continue at about 15,000-20,000t per month with the main destination being Belgium, but interest has slowed lately.

Egypt         The domestic bean market crop appears to have been around 200,000-250,000t. 25% of this is broad beans which, though prized for their larger size, are largely exported. The market and supply chain appears to remain full at this time with little buying interest. Any demand that is anticipated to return in the run up to the religious festivals may be fulfilled with the Australian crop. This year Ramadan falls 28th June to 7th July.

Sudan         Possible buying interest for this market may emerge in May/June.


Field Beans - general New crop drilling has been full steam ahead in March with high soil temperatures. Localised heavy rain showers that have topped up already very wet soils in some places, adding frustration for some growers. Some ground is still too wet to drill, but there is no need for panic at this stage. The sowing window remains open for a while yet. Initial talk of a much reduced spring bean area in 2014 seems to have fallen away - the feeling is now that the area sown will be similar to that of 2013.

There is little interest in trading the new bean crop at this stage, with growers generally not prepared to commit before they have the crop drilled and nicely established. In recent years, trading beans ahead of harvest has been difficult with sellers reluctant.

Feed Beans Trading of the old crop is at around £260/t ex farm. There is local demand from extruders and, although the higher price may temper the demand from the summer fish feed market, significant requirement is still anticipated. There has been discussion that the historic close link between the price of feed beans and premium over feed wheat may have been broken. If this is the case, then there is a fundamental market change with feed bean prices holding at a significantly higher level.

Human Consumption Beans Human consumption beans are now trading at parity with feed beans. Human consumption demand is very slow (although approx. 30,000t has departed the UK in the last 4 weeks) but the demand for the feed market is holding up. New crop premiums are available at circa £20-£25/t over feed beans but there is no demand from either side.

Combining Peas The picture has changed little from last month with blue peas in surplus and falling in value, remaining stocks are of paler colour and poorer quality, overstocking this niche. The larger Canadian crop and reduced winter consumption have put pressure on price, but good colour and quality samples will still command a £20 premium. The emphasis for growers has to be on good quality and colour retention at harvest to maximise returns. A large Canadian crop is again anticipated from 2014 harvest.

The marrowfat market remains stronger. National stocks will likely be exhausted ahead of new crop with strong and growing exports to the far east. Prices circa £350/t are still achievable for good quality samples and production contracts at a similar level remain available for 2014 crop. New crop prices are likely to remain at current levels.

Yellow peas play a small place in the UK the market demand is very weak at this time. Growers of yellow peas are generally advised to produce on a buy back contract.


Soil still wet? 

Do not panic - although time is running along, the recommendation remains to wait for soil conditions to come right.

 Pest alert        

Pea and bean weevils emerged in large numbers during the warmer days two weeks ago. These pests are in crops now and will cause potentially heavy damage to any crops emerging in the next 10 days or so. Field thrips will be particularly active on stony soils and in the recent cool dry conditions. The treatment for weevils will also control field thrips. Check the recommendations on the PGRO web site and Technical Bulletins:

Farm saving seed?

Don’t forget to have it tested at the PGRO for stem nematode and disease loading as well as germination and vigour. For answers to FAQs on farm saving seed:

Cropping area

Recent reports indicate that, whilst the winter cropping area was up 14% over 2013, it has not recovered to the 2012 crop level. Is this showing a trending increase in spring cropping, or just that the generally open autumn window closed suddenly?