19 August 1997

Pulses look promising

PULSE crops have turned in some heavy yields and peas in particular look set to be an attractive option for the coming year, says Julie Goult, Dalgetys national pulse and linseed product manager.

"Forward prices are good at a time when farm incomes are under pressure. In East Anglia and the south, yields and quality are very good. However, in the north and south-west information on crops is sparse and quality less certain.

"All in all yields are expected to be up on last year, giving a bumper harvest. The pea crop looks set to give an average of 4.21t/ha, up on last years 3.88t/ha."

Beans have averaged 4.3t/ha (1.74t/acre) against 3.39t/ha (1.37t/acre) in 1996, with first samples looking good, says Miss Goult.

Early samples of premium peas for human consumption and micronising are excellent. "Some trade has taken place at high premiums, but with the uncertainty over later crops there is currently a reluctance to trade."

Feed pea use is set to rise 15% on last year. Even so there will be big exportable surpluses of both crops. Opportunities already exist, but to take advantage of them growers need to begin selling, she advises.