Pulse growers are set to benefit from more rapid advances in pulse breeding and greater export opportunities with the launch of UK Pulses.
Pea and bean growing has gone through a resurgence in recent years fueled by combination of the three-crop rule, poorer margins for the other key break crop oilseed rape and adoption of spring cropping to tackle severe blackgrass infestations.
The most recent AHDB survey puts pulses up 16% for harvest 2016 on the previous year, with an area of 242,000ha.
Therefore, with the aim of giving a further boost to protein crops in the UK, two major players in the pulse sector, Senova plus Wherry and sons, have joined forces.
Dan Wherry of Wherry & Sons explains that forming a new company will allow it to gain critical mass, something which is increasingly important for crop development, especially with the minor crop species.
“Marrying our skills with Senova’s marketing and commercial experience will put us in a better position for the future and allow both companies to benefit from the expanding pulse market,” he says.
“This joint venture will see Wherry continue to develop its international pulse trading activities, which now extend to the Middle East, North Africa, Asia and China, while keeping the roots of a seven-generation family business in pulse development.”
Under the terms of the joint venture, Senova will take over the management and day-to-day activities of UK Pulses, widening its variety portfolio through the addition of Wherry pulse varieties.
These will include grower favourite Wizard and newcomer Bumble, the highest-yielding winter bean on the PGRO Recommended List, which is due to be released next year.
A breeding alliance with Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences in Aberystwyth, giving access to new breeding technologies, has already been established and will hasten the release of new varieties, he says.
Senova’s commercial director Jeremy Taylor adds: “Increasing our involvement in the pulse seed sector comes at just the right time, as there are some promising new varieties on the horizon and an expanding market to supply.”