Marrowfat Octavia market share continues to grow

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Two of the UK’s pulse specialists – Wherry & Sons Limited and Robin Appel Limited – predict that leading marrowfat variety Octavia will increase market share and growing area over the next 2 years, providing current seed stock levels and seed availability increase in line with current demand.

The variety has already established a strong position as the highest yielding, commercially available marrowfat variety on the current PGRO Descriptive List.

Franek Smith, Associate Director at Wherry & Sons says; “As the highest yielding available marrowfat variety, and with a 7 for standing ability at harvest, Octavia has already caught the eye of many pulse growers. It’s well-liked on-farm with a reputation for achieving high yields and is certainly a step forward from Sakura, formerly the leading marrowfat pea since 2008. It has not yet reached its full market potential and I believe grower demand is certainly there. At Wherry’s, we’ve sold out of Octavia for 2024 and already have significant interest for 2025.

“I first saw Octavia in trials in 2019 where it performed extremely well. I think its introduction to the market came at the right time, offering growers greater varietal choice with improved standing ability being a critical factor. Key end markets for Octavia, including both Wasabi peas and allergy-free pea-crisps that are significantly higher in fibre and protein than traditional potato crisps, should help keep future demand high alongside the agronomic benefits that pulses bring to all rotations.”

Pulse Trader and marrowfat specialist, Andrew Brown, of Robin Appel Limited sees Octavia’s key agronomic trait of standing ability at harvest as the one of the keys to its future success. “Historically, marrowfat peas always had a reputation of being more difficult to grow due to their weaker straw. However, I believe Octavia has helped to change that negative perception with its ability to stand so well at harvest and go through the combine more smoothly than its predecessors. Ease of combining, so that more of the crop goes into the shed creating high yields and better overall crop quality, is absolutely critical to growers.”

On end-markets, the known health benefits of marrowfat peas and established markets for plant-based protein in Asia should offer a strong future for varieties such as Octavia.

“I can certainly see Octavia taking more market share and securing a larger growing area over the next 2-3 years, providing there’s an increase in future seed stocks of the variety to ensure greater seed availability,” he concludes.

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