The launch of the new PGRO lists for combining peas, winter beans and spring beans, took place
The launch of the new PGRO lists for combining peas, winter beans and spring beans, took place at the CropTec event. Dominic Kilburn attended.With a predicted increase of 25-30 per cent in the UK bean planting area for this season over last, the message to growers is that they must aim for quality markets if the most is to be made from crop premiums in 2015.That’s according to Bepa (British Edible Pulses Association) president, Andy Bury (left), speaking ahead of the launch of the PGRO Recommended List for pulses, staged at CropTec in November.He pointed out that although it was a significant rise in bean plantings, the area was simply returning to its traditional level as growers looked for the most practical ways to meet the five per cent EFA requirement in CAP greening, as well as finding solutions for dealing with black-grass infestations.”There have been comments that the increased acreage will put pressure on bean prices but there will still be a substantial premium over wheat,” said Mr Bury.”In 2009/10, when a 610,000t crop was produced, the price was as low as 10/t and as high as 35/t over feed wheat prices and currently there are offers at 35/t over wheat for November 2015 feed bean contracts.”Where beans reach the specification for human consumption, there will be additional premiums,” he added.Mr Bury said that there were positive signs coming from Egypt where the market for human consumption was growing at 1.5-2.0 per cent a year. “Egypt is already looking to buy new crop beans and, needing about 650,000t in all, most will come from the UK, France and Australia.”We don’t know the quality of the Australian crop and the French-grown area of beans will not increase following two poor years, and so the increase we have in UK production will be taken up by demand from Egypt, and we won’t be competing with France for that,” he explained.To achieve the best market value with beans, Mr Bury stressed that quality, attention to detail, varietal choice, control of the bruchid beetle, harvest quality – setting up the combine – and good storage were all key factors.He suggested that there would be a sufficient supply of spring bean seed available.In terms of peas, where seed availability was an issue for the season ahead, Mr Bury reminded growers that colour of the pea crop was key and “what buyers wanted”.With prices for marrowfat (for human consumption) varieties at 340/t harvest 2015, compared with large blues (for feed) at 200/t, he pointed out that a differentiation of 140/t, meant that growing a quality crop was paramount.Recommended ListThere were no changes to the white pea category with Salamanca, Mascara and Gregor all remaining fully recommended, said PGRO principal technical officer Stephen Belcher (left), at the launch of the new PGRO lists for combining peas, winter beans and spring beans.Similarly, large blues Crackerjack, Prophet and Daytona remain with a full recommendation, he added.Campus continues into P2 recommendation, giving another strong yield performance. Along with Prophet, it is the joint top yielding variety on the List and has a very good rating for standing ability (8).”New to the List for 2015 is Bluetooth (LS Plant Breeding). Yields fall just short of the best and it combines a reasonable agronomic package with better than average downy mildew resistance.”Maple peas Mantara and Rose continue with a full recommendation while Rainbow moves to P2 recommendation,” pointed out Mr Belcher, who noted that Mantara maintains a yield advantage over Rose while Rainbow is a little behind Rose. The marrowfats group in general did not perform as well as previously. Sakura, Neon and Genki remain fully recommended varieties.After a poor performance in 2014, a decision on the full recommendation of Bibao was deferred and the variety remains provisionally recommended (P3), he added.Winter beans“Many winter bean crops grew very tall in 2014 and some of these brackled, where the stem snaps at some point above ground level. This occurred late in the growing season and yields did not appear to be affected. Generally winter beans yielded very well and 2014 trial yields (5.89t/ha) were 33 per cent higher than the five-year (4.42t/ha) average.”Of the pale hilum types, Wizard and Honey remain fully recommended varieties while Tundra tops the winter bean yield rankings and continues into P2 recommendation.”In addition, two new winter beans, Thor and Saracen, gain a first year (P1) provisional recommendation for 2015. Yields were a little higher than fully recommended Wizard, but lower than Tundra. Both have relatively short, stiff straw.In the black hilum (feed bean) category, Clipper and Arthur remain fully recommended varieties and Buzz continues into the P2 category.Spring beans2014 trial yields (5.68t/ha) were 25 per cent higher than the five-year average (4.53t/ha), highlighted Mr Belcher, and some good information on downy mildew was obtained this year, he said.Boxer, Fury, Fuego, Pyramid and Babylon all remain fully recommended varieties. Gaining full recommendation status for 2015 are Vertigo and Fanfare. Yields are not quite as spectacular as on the 2014 List, but both are still high yielding. Vertigo is the top yielding variety, significantly out-yielding Fuego, while Fanfare is a little behind Vertigo. Downy mildew for these varieties has improved (5) compared with Fury (6), Fuego and Pyramid (5) and Babylon (7).Tic bean Maris Bead also remains fully recommended, he concluded.