Pulse Market Update (01.08.13)

International overview
French statistical forecasting services are provisionally reporting a slight increase in pea and bean area for 2013 at 209k ha, an increase of 8% (136k ha peas (+3%) and 69k ha beans (+17%)).

In 2012, French producers averaged approximately 5.2 t/ha field beans. French Exports to Egypt for Human consumption fell from record high levels of 245, 000 t to 170,000 t with low availability in 2012. Exports for fish food in Norway rose to 30k t.

2013 French pea crops in the south have been reported with lower yields - thought to be due to excess water in early growth stages. Further north, both pea and bean plants were aborting pods due to the heat, and suffering losses from hail storms and powdery mildew. Pea prices are falling but, at the start of the month, were at a premium of circa €80 over feed wheat, resulting in reduced compounder interest.

Canadian markets are reporting strong demand for export peas to India and China with stocks at a low and only slight increase in production likely ex crop 2013. There is also a suggestion that green pea production is set to increase significantly in Canada with a 62% area increase predicted for 2013/14 to circa 600k t

USDA is predicting an increase of dry pea production in 2013/14 of 21% to 700k t. Production mainly increasing in Montana and North Dakota.

Australian bean growers benefitted from the European shortage and are sold out too with higher prices, thereby maintaining their strong interest in production for 2013 and 2014 crops

Egypt - the main destination for beans of human consumption quality, has been in the news lately for all the wrong reasons. Economic woes overtook the democratically elected President and military intervention has changed the regime - which this week has bought some time against economic meltdown by securing an economic aid package worth billions of dollars from Arab nations. The economy is fragile and the politics unstable, bringing inevitable elements of uncertainty to the prospects for exports in the coming months. The season of Ramadan has seen little importing – but doubtless on resumption Egyptian traders will be expecting new crop to be supplied at a lower price.

Sudanese markets have a quieter profile with stocks anticipated to be low by the time new crop is taken.

Feed Beans
The prices offered remain high considering the recent falls in wheat, corn and other commodity values. Premiums available of £50 - £60/t over feed wheat continue to be mentioned.

Recent hot, dry weather accelerated crop development and on lighter ground beans were suffering water stress. It appears the heat wave broke just in time and the accompanying rainfall has been extremely beneficial in most areas.

Overall, crop reports seem to indicate bean size is likely to be small.

Forward trading has been light with growers apparently nervous about crop outturns.
Human Consumption Beans
Export markets are expected to show interest as Ramadan comes to a close from 7th August.
Prices remain high, with a further £25/t potential over feed bean values. As ever, quality is important with a requirement for minimal bruchid beetle damage.
Combining Peas
Marrowfat peas have interest from the Far East and at good prices with stocks at a historic low. Heat, combined with low rainfall accelerating maturity, risks yields potentially falling back a little and the production of small seed in some locations.

Blue peas are also attracting good interest with Canadian supplies low and prices high. Attention to harvest is critical to maintaining crop value. All efforts to prevent bleaching/loss of colour should be taken. The difference between good and poor colour retention could be as great as £100 / tonne.

Yellow pea prices are faring less well in the market against competition from the Ukraine and from French production.  

All eyes are now on the new crop.