French bean size looks like being larger than the disappointing 2013 crop but bruchid levels are reported as being high. Shipments to the export markets are expected to start in September, feedback will determine whether the UK crop is preferred for the second consecutive year.

Canadian crops whilst large are facing some issues. Recent wet weather has seen a down grading of the anticipated harvest estimates. A significant delay in harvesting will result in an increase risk of frost damage. Despite this it seems the overall crop size will have a depressing effect on recent crop values in the UK throughout the season. It is noted that Canada is showing some interest in faba bean production and area is increasing. So far this has had little impact on the main markets but should not be ignored.

Feed beans continue to sit in the field. The very early harvest seen in July was stopped by the disappointing August conditions and the delay in all combinable crops. Yields on average were good circa 5t/ha. There has been significant staining seen in early samples of winter beans, bruchid damage levels seen so far are significantly worse than was seen last year (a year of exceptionally low incidence) and seed size is generally small with splitting an issue. Spring bean samples have so far been far more promising but there remain very significant areas be harvested.

Indications are that demand will remain strong but everyone is sitting on the fence and there is little trading. Markets remain quite static and buyers have been unable to cover enquiries as sellers remain reluctant ahead of safe harvest. Other grain commodity prices have fallen, feed beans have followed accordingly and are currently at around £185/ t ex, still presenting a circa £70/t premium over wheat and attractive compared to OSR at £230-40 per t. Those who committed early have reaped a great reward this year as prices were higher before harvest started.

Human consumption bean export markets also remain quiet, though since Ramadan there have been significant enquiries. Good samples are now commanding a premium of circa £25/ t over feed beans but prices could look dear to the customers compared to feed wheat and with the added burden of currency fluctuations strengthening Stirling ( up 10% on the same time last year). The market really needs the completion of harvest to see what is available and judge quality. Bean contracts for crop 2015 can be obtained at circa £235/t for HC quality.

Combining Peas

Blue peas have generally yielded well and the quality has been good. Significant numbers of early samples are however showing signs of soaking and cooking problems, which if they persist will have a detrimental affect on value. These issues are seen from time to time and can frequently be a more problematic with fresh crop, often dissipating during storage. Strength of the market will be determined by the out turn of the Canadian harvest – still uncertain- and the speed with which crop 2013 stocks are consumed. There is little market activity but good samples are able to fetch up to £230/t for micronizing but poor samples will be hard to shift even at £60/t less

Marrowfat pea prices remain strong. Quality from 2014 harvest appears to be average to good but with samples still to collect there is variability. There has been significant damage from Pea Moth in parts emphasising the need for monitoring this pest. On the whole yields appear to have disappointed, 2.6T/ha has been typical, perhaps restricted by moisture availability during the early summer period. It appears stocks will remain short. Good quality samples will command circa £325-350/t.

Agronomy Note


Don’t forget beans should be taken as soon as ready to preserve the bright, pale skin finish which will slowly deteriorate if left in the field especially as the pods split open. They may stand but there is a real risk of quickly losing any quality premiums. See recent Crop Updates for tips on harvesting storage and drying. Crop Update 8 - Desiccation and Storage was issued 22nd August.

Metaldehyde Stewardship

Defra is appealing to farmers to take metaldehyde stewardship seriously to minimise the negative impact on agriculture and the crop protection industry. For more information on the project and the possibility of slug pellet substitution visit