21 July 1995

Pulses:Be early for top quality

PULSE growers aiming for quality markets should start combining as early as possible to avoid costly penalties or rejections.

"If youre growing for top quality you need to treat pulse crops like milling wheats," says Amanda Lee of Seed Innovations, Downham Market, Norfolk. "Get them as early as you can."

Some growers think peas are safe to leave until they are "absolutely dry", she explains. But this increases the chance of bleaching in hot sunny weather or staining if the weather turns wet.

Bleached peas can still be canned, but will not make the extra £7-10/t for dry packet markets. Badly-stained peas are usually only good for feed, losing the £40-50/t canning premium. Even if accepted for micronising that will only make up £10-15 of the shortfall, says Miss Lee.

Seed beans need a quick start too, she maintains. "Its absolutely vital to avoid cracking and splitting for this market. "Ideally, crops need to be harvested at 17-18%. In hot weather, harvesting them on dewy nights will help."