10-12-2012 11:16 AM | Arable, Cereal, Crops, Finance, Market Reports, News

Lack of UK crop leads to European imports



International overview

The Pulse market in Canada remains strong. Peas and Beans are in short supply and a 20-30% increase in areas is forecast. Harvest was earlier this year due to early sowing, and a decrease in area expectations has combined with a reduction in yield/ha. The general forecast for the coming year is of increased production - but for lower total availability - as their stock carryover reduces.

Strong demand from the Indian market and general world demand is maintaining market values. India’s rapidly expanding population continues to undersupply the domestic food production requirement and, like the UK, India is pursuing wheat and oilseed crops at the expense of pulses, driving the continued demand for imports. Canadian, US and French pea production head east to fill the gap.

The FT recently published the cost of feed wheat in the futures market rising 45% since January 2012 to £227/t - further indication of a strong demand for food commodities by the world’s ever-growing population.

Feed Beans

Feed bean values have risen to around £290/t ex farm, encouraged by the increasingly high price of wheat +/- £225/t and Soya beans now topping £500/t with SBM at just short of £300/t. This apparently inseparable conundrum continues to hold back the wider use of beans and peas from the feed formulators armoury.

Lack of available UK crop has lead to imports from various European sources. The interest in spring planting of beans is tremendous and reports of beans being the most profitable crop in the rotation for the last two years will not have gone unnoticed. Growers struggling with cropping plans and the need for wider rotation improvements cannot fail to be attracted by gross margin reports in excess of £1500/ha.

As volume is anticipated to rise, 2013 crop will likely carry a lower premium of perhaps £20- £25/t over feed wheat.

Human Consumption Beans

There has been little export activity to date. High prices from the UK (buoyed by high quoted feed prices and short positions) are diverting buyers in Egypt towards the new crop from Australia. The French report exports to Egypt of 206,000 tonnes for 2011/12, with Australia reporting expectations just shy of around 185,000 tonnes.

Australian crops are of good quality - offered at a significant discount to the UK produce. As Australian crop shortens, however, its price should rise opening the door for UK crop. Growers’ need for cash in the New Year may drive some UK product to a more competitive edge. The market in Sudan appears well supplied with stocks already and, with import licences set to close at the end of February, this market presents less of an opportunity now than it may later in the spring/early summer.

Combining Peas

Pea prices are heading up on the back of shortage and strong international demand - and £400/t has been reached. With few sellers, the UK acreage is at a very low ebb. But with restricted options available for spring cropping, and with prospects for good returns on fixed price contracts for successful growers, there is a renewed interest in peas. Seed supplies permitting, growers in suitable locations are showing serious intent for 2013.

Marrowfats

Again a tale of short supply with quality samples being hoovered up by the Chinese and Japan – it appears that the best of what is available worldwide are to be found in the UK.

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