29 August 1997

Stand-off keeps peas and beans in the field

FARMERS are taking the same approach to selling peas and beans as they are to wheat and barley – they are not.

And that is just what has been cut. As Cargills Chris Toft says: "A lot is still in the field getting wet."

With the market in stand-off, those feed peas that are changing hands are making just under £100/t. Top-quality samples are worth £20-30/t more than this.

Bean traders, meanwhile, are talking about ex-farm values just over £100/t. Mike Craner of Harlow Agricultural Merchants says, with pulse values down £25/t or more on last year, farmers have been left "shell-shocked".

But yields of beans have been good, says Mr Craner. As far as peas are concerned, it has been a "spring year", with some winter crops hit by bad weather.

Dalgetys Adrian Forrest says, in advance of the world soya bean harvest, domestic demand for peas remains reasonably strong.

That, with farmers reluctance to sell, has driven values up to £104/t, he says. But at such levels, there is little export movement. "We are uncompetitive with the French and Germans when it comes to supplying Spain."

Conversely, demand for beans will be export-led, says Mr Forrest, on the back of early-season interest from the Mediterranean countries.

With beans making anything up to £10 more than peas – and up to £30/t more than feed wheat – now could be the time to sell. &#42