In general prices have risen with the market for other commodity grains throughout the year and have remained good thorough 2022 to date.
There may be one or two crops of beans still to be taken ( perhaps in Scotland) but as far as we are aware pulse crop harvesting is now pretty much complete in the UK, most of which was very early indeed. The results of crop 2022 will not be fully appreciated for a little while, but it cannot be denied that the drought and heat certainly took a toll on spring sown crops, which for some growers was severe.
A typical range for beans will have been between 2 and 6 t/ha with Winters having performed better than Springs, while peas have been recorded as low as 0.5t/ha up to almost 3t/ha. The exceptional dryness of pulses at harvest alone, can be assumed to have reduced yield potential by up to 4%, also contributing to further potential losses through shedding at the combine header. The overall picture for the UK is mixed, with probably slightly under average crop performance, reflecting some real successes and some absolute failures.
A real assessment of the likely supply for the trade will be more reliably available once the DEFRA June Survey crop area figures are released later this month, laying to rest the uncertainty about the areas sown in 2022.
Uncertainty is perhaps a theme. Continuing issues with multi-fold energy price increases for industry, are set to influence the costs of transport and processing, and energy costs for consumers are influencing their willingness to spend. All of which amounts to a virtuous circle of uncertainty for the value and likely demand of pulses. This applies not just to the UK but also to significant export markets. Political events in Europe are influencing feed demand through apparent reduced meat consumption and uncertain economic outlook. Meanwhile the lack of certainty about continued exports from Ukraine and Russia through the Black Sea continue to underpin higher values in international commodity markets fearing potential food shortages.
Human consumption bean exports are faced with an Egyptian market suffering 45% inflation rates, disastrous economic forecasts and poor cash flow with massive restrictions on US$ imports as a result.
The Australian new crop is still many weeks away from harvest but crop 2021 is still in the markets. The growing regions have received plentiful rain this season and another large crop of up to 800,000 tonnes of Bruchid free beans is expected, although exports will again be bedevilled by bottlenecks at ports.
More immediate new crop competition is presented by the Baltic States where an uncertain crop of just under 300,000 tonnes is assumed, although it is believed that sellers in that region have more problems with insect damage this year. Although 60,000t is now on the seas the region has been less quick to present to the market than has been customary, offers seen have been at high values.
Protein production facility developments in Europe continue and are certain to present new market opportunities for growers in Germany and other central countries. Supplying these is likely to see regional increases in production of peas and beans in Europe.
Canadian peas yields have been very good and their values a relatively low, which is adding interest and complexity to the export opportunities in Europe.
Feed beans values have fluctuated with immediate demand but have been traded from around £300 to £310/t ex farm recently. The feeling is that there is likely to be little dramatic happen in the immediate market, however political developments are largely without forecast and can have strong and rapid influences on short term decisions.
Spring bean quality has in parts been poor but on the other hand winter beans have generally done well. Normally winter beans present a less appetising appearance due to heavier insect damage and a greater tendency to darker and stained grains. Not so this year, with some buyers more keen to secure them than spring crop.
A small premium for Human consumption exports is currently around £20-25/t ( perhaps £325/t ex farm) due largely to difficulties in the economies of the importers presenting risk to the exporter.
UK Combining Peas
Feed pea values are as usual at a discount (perhaps £20/ t ex farm) to feed beans.
New crop yield and quality has generally been good. Grain has been excessively dry, sometimes exaggerating soaking and cooking issues. Colour is generally good with little bleaching apparent in the earlier harvested crops. From £295 /t to £330/t ex farm might be achieved for crops off contract. The best prices are for those that have good colour, no bleaching and devoid of soaking problems. The lower prices being discounted values to beans, for feed.
Contract opportunities are available for crop 2023 with some very flexible options and encouraging prices offered up to £475/t ex.
Of the different pea types these perhaps suffered most. Grains are often small and lacking their characteristic blocky shape. The smaller seed size has further impacted marketable yield. Demand is likely to exceed supply with values for good quality open market crops potentially as high as £600/t ex farm, although there are thought to be few, if any available.
Contracts for 2023 are available with various values with the very realistic opportunity to receive £570/t ex farm.
Appear to be the peas with the largest potential up-side. More is available as producers realise the demand in the flour and protein sectors is increasing. Uncertainty of availability from the Ukraine and Russia is adding to this interest. Values no longer reflect their more traditional feed destinations and, as long as they pass soaking and cooking tests up to £330/t ex farm is realistic , putting them on a similar level to good quality green peas with a much-reduced bleaching risk.
UK production has typically been low but there is some demand and contracts are available.
There is little excess market demand and interest is very limited. There is no current market off-contract trade.
Variety Rose is demanded by export consumers as it offers higher premiums for human consumption qualities.
Variety Mantara is a racing pigeon and bird feed variety and this niche market is declining each year.
Limited contracts are available for crop 2023 – contact your merchant for offers.
It is generally too early to comment with certainty on the availability of certified seed for the coming season, with much still being assessed for quality.
While Spring Bean yields /ha have been down, the seed production area increased significantly in 2022 and initially quality assessments are optimistic. A potential benefit of the seed not having suffered multiple wetting and drying events. Generally, seed is smaller with a lower thousand grain weight presenting a potential saving in seed cost per ha for growers.
Winter Bean C2 seed area also fell in in 2022, but yields have been better. This market is thought likely to have more interest for crop 2023. Currently 50% of this market is thought to be supplied by farm saved seed.
C2 Peas seed may be less available in spring 2023 as seed production area has reduced by 400Ha although carry over is available.
Breeders are very concerned that promotion of the conservation option - Two Year Sown Legume Fallow, AB15 could hit the pulse crop area.