Pigeons boost pulse potential
TIC beans and maple peas are in good demand as added value pulse crops, according to Dalgety.
With premiums of £40-55/t available, uptake of both crops for spring sowing, mainly for pigeon feed, has been good, says Julie Goult, national pulse and linseed production manager. "But there are still some contracts to be had."
Choosing varieties to match such specific end uses can boost margins by £75-135/ha (£30-55/acre), she claims. "The pigeon feed market is fast expanding." The UKs flock now absorbs about 70,000t of pulses a year, including a lot of white and blue peas whose premiums are only minimal – about £5/t, she says.
Of that total about 6-8000t are tic beans, nearly all Maris Bead. Although lower yielding than varieties such as Scirocco and Victor, high premiums mean it can produce very good returns, she claims.
Using NIAB yield figures and Nix input costings Dalgety estimates show tic beans at 3.8t/ha (1.5t/acre) giving a gross margin of £784/ha (£317/acre). By comparison 4.5t/ha (1.8t/acre) of feed beans give only £709/ha (£287/acre).
Coloured maple peas are also much favoured by pigeon fanciers. "The speckling makes the rations attractive and the bit of tannin in the seed coat is supposed to give feathers a good gloss."
The figures show maple peas on 4.7t/ha (1.9t/acre) return a gross margin of £858/ha (£347/acre). Feed peas at 5.4t/ha (2.2t/acre) produce only £723/ha (£293/acre), says Ms Goult.
"There is also good export potential in Belgium." The country currently uses about 10,000t of pulses for pigeon food, most of which comes from as far afield as Canada and New Zealand, she explains.
Setchy, a patterned variety bred specially to be harvested dry by Cebeco at Dalgetys behest, has proved earlier and easier to combine than older varieties like Minerva and Spectrum, the latter coming from the forage side of the business, says Ms Goult.n
• Good demand for tic beans and maple peas for pigeon feed – 70,000t in UK.
• £40-55/t premiums available.
• Could boost margins by £75-135/ha (£30-55/acre).
• Contracts available.