Thursday, November 15, 2018

Demand for pulses high despite visual issues

November 1, 2018 by  
Filed under Crops

Demand for pulses remains well-supported despite a low-yielding harvest and the poor appearance of the bean crop, says the Processors and Growers Research Organisation (PGRO).

The market in the UK is dominated by the fact that the national pulse crop is down significantly on the year and the bean crop has significant visual quality issues, says PGRO chief executive Roger Vickers.

“The murky supply picture is becoming clearer and the apparent shortage of product has driven the recent increases in bean prices,” he says. “Falling international yellow pea prices may put a cap on these rises as buyers are offered alternatives.”

UK peas have also yielded less than average, and values are starting to rise further on the back of availability, adds Mr Vickers. The 2018 harvest has generally produced better quality and rewards will be reaped.

“Significant concern about winter bean seed availability has resulted in derogation for the sale of lower quality seed being issued. Minimum germination has been reduced from 80% to 70%. The quality of spring bean seed is not yet known.”

Growers hoping to farm save seed are urged to have it tested for germination and vigour. The potential impact of 2018 crop quality on seed availability is causing the market to speculate about supply from 2019 too.

The 2019 pulse crop is receiving interest from growers struggling with oilseed rape establishment issues. Demand continues to be well supported in all sectors of the UK pulse market and values have risen accordingly.

Previously, the total bean crop was estimated at approximately 500,000t. But as the trade develops, it is now thought this may be as much as 100-150,000t over-cooked once seed-saving and farm-fed quantities are accounted for.

Franek Smith, president of the British Edible Pulses Association, says: “Quality has been significantly impacted and with bruchid damage, physical shattering of over-dry grains and reduced grain size, the impact on cosmetic appearance and seed quality has been enormous.”

The feed bean market tracked wheat futures upwards pre-harvest and continued to increase after wheat stopped rising. Values have been as high as £212/t ex-farm. At these values, aquaculture and other feed users may switch to imported supplies which will slow bean demand.

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