18 September 1998

US excess poses threat

PULSE yields may be down, but there is still a sizeable tonnage to export this season. Given the huge US soya crop and cheap peas elsewhere, that could be difficult.

Peas yielded an average of 3.49t/ha (1.4t/acre), producing 352,000t, a slip of 6% on last year. But quality and colour of premium human consumption and micronising peas are excellent, says Dalgetys Julie Goult.

About 64,000t – mostly feed – will need to be shipped. "In the short term, price prospects are good," says trader Adrian Forrest. But short cover is driving the price, currently about £77-78/t. "Consumers are not in the market."

As a result, central European supplies are available at an £8-10/t discount, taking Mediterranean bus-iness. Imminent Canadian supplies are even cheaper, says Mr Forrest.

Beans averaged 3.27t/ha, but area was up, producing a 405,000t crop, 5% higher than 1997. Again, the price is buoyant, at £80/t ex-farm, due to lack of available crop and committed shipments.

Shifting the 300,000t awaiting export will be a struggle without a sharp price correction later in the season, Mr Forrest predicts. &#42