Pulse yields have all come in below average, according to preliminary trial results from PGRO.

Initial data to 1 October put untreated spring bean yields at 4.01t/ha – 0.08t/ha below the five-year average.

Winter beans came in at 3.51t/ha – 0.87t/ha below average, with combining peas down by 0.93t/ha, to 4.06t/ha.

However, the averages hid a wide variance between sites, with some winter beans yielding as low as 1.89t/ha, and others up to 6.02t/ha, said Stephen Belcher, principal technical officer at PGRO.

“Commercial yields are also better than anticipated, with some very good results and quality from farms.”

PGRO’s Becky Ward said she had been concerned mid-season, as pollination appeared to have faltered in the cool, wet conditions.

“However, pods did eventually form on the middle and upper parts of the crop, and we’ve been harvesting good samples with grain sizes (TGW) of 700-800g.

“Also, although an extra fungicide application was needed, Bruchid incidence was well below normal, so there were savings in insecticides.”

At current human consumption prices, some growers were grossing over £1500/ha, she added.

“Even allowing for variable costs of £250/ha, this is an excellent gross margin crop.

“As well as the yield benefit for the following wheat crop, beans give growers the opportunity to get blackgrass under control and improve the inevitably compacted soil structure.”