30 August 2002

Exports key to pea and bean trade?

GOOD export demand could be the key to pea and bean markets this year, as domestic compounders are unlikely to use much at current prices, say traders.

With the pea harvest almost complete, yields have proved "disappointing", and quality mixed, says Banks Cargills Mike Adams.

"A lot of peas went flat." This has resulted in soil contamination, with yields ranging from 3t to 5t/ha (1.25-2t/acre). Total plantings were 17% down on last season, at 83,000ha (205,000 acres), according to DEFRAs June census.

"There is demand for quality peas, and there is a whole range of premiums which look quite attractive," says Mr Adams. Feed peas are fetching about £75/t, with micronising varieties worth a £2-5/t premium depending on time of movement.

World supply

Although these prices are too high to stimulate much domestic demand, supply on the world market is considerably reduced due to drought in Canada, and export interest is likely to support the market, says Andy Donald, managing director of Cambs-based Dalmark.

In contrast, the bean harvest is only about 10-15% complete, but early indications are reasonable, with yields estimated at 3.7-5t/ha (1.5-2t/acre).

Prices are stable at about £75/t ex-farm, although, as with peas, this is not attracting much domestic demand.

Bean area in France has more than doubled over the past two years, and the UK area has increased by over a third during the same period. So, despite good export demand to Spain and Italy, prices could come under some pressure, says Mr Adams. &#42