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British Pulse Update February 14th 2013

The latest, authoritative information on the pulse crop in Britain.

International overview

India is one of the world’s largest producers, consumers and importers of pulses. Domestic production peaked in 2010/11 and is set to decline for the second year in a row with a 28% water deficit in key production areas. Shortage is widening and increasing imports are reported as inevitable, despite the fact that lately they fell a little due to adverse currency movements.

France reports the winter bean crop is looking backward for the time of year due to the wet and cold weather since Christmas. All regions in France are anticipating reduced pea crop area for 2013 following disappointing results in 2012. In contrast there were good returns from spring beans, hence a likely upturn in area for 2013. Pea exports (July 2012 to date) have increased in EU, and have resumed to Norway, but no trade to India compared to 76,000t last year. Bean exports to Egypt (July 2012 to date) have declined on the year, but exports overall have increased with Norway taking over 20,000t so far this year.

Canadian dry pea production rose in 2012 and is set to rise again in 2013. Reported exports remains high – there is strong demand to India – and the carry forward stock low, keeping supplies tight and prices at a record level for feed.

Feed Beans

With little available supply, the old crop feed bean market remains strong with 2012 values of up to £90/t over feed wheat. Despite the predicted increase in new crop spring bean plantings, demand for beans from the 2013 crop remains relatively firm with the market currently trading at a £35/t premium over wheat for new crop beans in most regions.

Stories of beans being the best crop in the rotation continue to come to light. The PGRO/Syngenta Roadshows have been well attended with considerable interest in the crop for spring sowing.

An increase in crop area for 2013 means production could top 500,000 tonnes, but there are determined forecasts of increased demand and a general confidence that there will be no shortage of takers for the new crop harvest.

Human Consumption Beans

Products destined for the Sudan need to arrive before the licences expire at the end of February, making this market effectively closed until later in the year.

The Egyptian market remains hungry for beans but the Australian crop remains at a lower level, despite a slight downward adjustment to the UK prices, ensuring that there is less interest in the UK crop. The French lead the way in the autumn with early bulk loads. The market is suffering from a weak economic state. The EGP has fallen sharply against the US$, losing about 8% of its value in the last month, and instability is perhaps exemplified by the state of emergency being declared in three cities following politically driven street violence. Egyptian banks are apparently being assisted by Gulf State finance.

Locally, the price of beans has increased to record levels and is expected to stay high until the arrival of new crop or changes in currency levels. Stocks of beans in Egypt are reported as low. Ramadan 2013 (9 July to 7 August) will drive consumption, so more demand is set to come in late March and April to meet this need. Local broad bean crops become available from April.

2012 crop Human Consumption beans are trading at a significant premium over feed beans (circa +£30/tonne) but have still been short in the market, despite some significant selling over the last four weeks or so. The remaining crop availability appears uncertain, with growers hanging on for a variety of reasons including price, final seed use needs for spring, and outturn following drying. All buyers appear to have experienced volatility and difficulty buying beans from the 2012 crop.

Forward demand for export quality Human Consumption beans is high. Markets in the Middle East and North Africa are growing and new export avenues continue to open up. Growers should feel confident that they will have a market come harvest 2013.

Combining Peas

EU pea production continues to fall, with a 22% lower area across the EU 27 in 2012 to circa 508,000 ha. With just 24,000 ha in the UK, the crop is looking marginal. UK old and new crop prices are historically high, offering good rewards to committed growers.

Seed sellers report significant interest in peas as growers look around for alternatives this spring. Seed appears to be available but variety choice is restricted.

Demand still exists for feed peas for micronizing and, with the UK market now running out of supplies, imports are coming in from the US.

Marrowfat Peas

Prices have soared but to little gain as there appear few, if any, available. Foreign buyers have shown resistance at the current price levels and are sourcing elsewhere.

Growers contracting for the new season can look forward to potentially good prices off the combine – the market should be hungry for product. UK peas seem essentially sold out.


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