Market report Pulses: Australian harvest threatens British beans

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Field bean demand for export remains relatively thin. There has been some recent demand from Africa, but Australia and the Baltic states still look cheap against UK beans, despite the recent drop in prices. According to ADM human consumption demand on old crop beans is non-existent both domestically and for export. There has been some new crop demand appearing on the market, although it has not yet come to fruition.

The delayed harvest in Australia has turned out to be huge for the third year in a row, with an estimated 700,000 tonnes of beans harvested. It is approximately double than the harvests of five years ago. The wet growing season has not unduly affected the quality and so Southern hemisphere beans are now competing with British beans forcing prices down.

Feed beans

Demand for beans has been and still is relatively slow with prices around £245/t. According to PGRO this is around a £10-£15/t premium over wheat instead of the more normal £25-£40/t which would suggest that beans might be good value.

Human consumption beans

There is little demand from export markets and the premium available is a nominal £10/t over feed. The quality was affected by the dry summer and the crops in the south were less affected than the north. In many cases the 2022 crop did not fill its potential  due to small grain size and a poor looking crop.

Green peas

Large quantities of green peas have been moved since harvest and the prices have held up reasonably well as a result. Current values have a very wide range based upon the quality of the sample, from about £290 – £340/t ex farm.

Buyers for micronizing can occasionally twist the market. The volumes used are not insignificant but are relatively small in comparison, and payments are for peas of the highest quality – occasionally putting a false expectation of ceiling in the main market values.

According to PGRO contracts remain available for 2023 production. Contract pricing options appear to be quite flexible, from minimum – maximum agreements to fixed prices or fully open prices to be agreed. With various agreements on quality clauses to factor in too. A typical fixed price contract might be in the region of £375/t ex farm whereas minimum-maximum ranges present opportunities from £300 – £450/t ex fam depending upon clauses agreed.

Marrowfat peas

There are thought to be few if any open market marrowfat peas available. So a good quality open market samples could fetch up to £600/t ex farm. This is clearly significantly more than the price at which some contracts were agreed before sowing and reflects the disturbing geopolitical changes that have brought so many changes since.

Contracts for crop 2023 have been taken up in larger numbers with opportunities for up to £570/t ex farm with clauses for quality. While the trade would still take more contracts seed availability is now limiting opportunities for those who are not already signed up.

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