After weeks of rises, a quiet few weeks in the bean trade suggest values may have peaked. After falling £8-10/tonne in the last month, feed beans are typically now valued around £245-250/t depending upon location, according to Roger Vickers, chief executive of PGRO.
With little UK availability, the old crop trade has tailed off to a trickle. Top quality product can still command up to £350/t but, more typically, around £275/t might be realised for product that requires tidying from up to 30 per cent bruchid damage, says Mr Vickers.
The second quarter of the year is likely to mostly focus on the prospects for the new harvest and distribution of the remnants of the already traded produce from 2018, says PGRO.
With increased contract values in the UK pea market, initiatives in the trade to reward growers for higher protein values in beans, and difficulties with oilseed rape establishment, a previously pessimistic trade had begun to consider a potentially slightly more optimistic position.
However, in recent weeks there has been renewed uncertainty about the spring sown crop area in the UK and most are reverting to their earlier, more conservative estimates of a reduction of up to 15 per cent in spring sown bean area. Peas are potentially static at best, says PGRO.
When it comes to availability for trading, much will depend upon the outturn. Even a return to average yields could easily compensate for a crop area decline of 15 per cent. Sowing of spring pulse crops is generally well ahead of the calendar last year and is believed to be about 90 per cent complete in the southern half of the UK. Most has gone into extremely favourable soil conditions, giving an excellent start, says PGRO.