Interest in spring cropping drives attendence at roadshow
Long-standing growers of peas and beans were joined by those wanting information on the agronomy and prospects for pulses and some who were coming back to the crops after a break.
The interest in spring cropping has been heightened considerably by the wet autumn, which has left many fields unsown that had been destined for winter cereals or oilseed rape.
Spring bean enthusiast Mark Wells, of Burbage Farms, Hinckley, Leicestershire, believes the crop brings his operations many benefits.
"They provide an excellent entry for oilseed rape in particular, and help to spread the workload, as they harvest later than cereals," he stated.
"They're easy to harvest, provide an opportunity to clean up grass weeds and, in our case, the over-wintered stubbles that form part of our Higher Level Scheme allow for February ploughing. Gross margins of £1109/ha for 2011 and £1162/ha last year are very pleasing results from a break crop."
Expressed fears of over-supply, "with all those jumping into peas and beans this spring," as one grower put it, were quickly dispelled by PGRO’s Anthony Biddle.
"The UK’s pulse area has declined over the past two or three years," he explained, "which has exacerbated the fact that we don’t grow enough peas and beans."
"There is plenty of market scope, and with prices around the £300/t level for feed beans and £330 for export – to North Africa and Egypt, in particular – there is every reason to increase supply."
He went on to list the agronomic benefits of pulses, an important one being that they require no nitrogen and, in fact, leave 40-50kg/ha N in residual form for the following crop.
In the case of winter wheat, this can mean yield boosted by an additional 1.0t or more per hectare. And, unlike some other sectors, there are no resistance issues currently regarding pea and bean pests.
The increased attention focused on beans and peas in recent months is unlikely to be a temporary phenomenon, he added. "Spring cropping options are likely to assume greater importance in the longer term."
The roadshow audiences also heard details from PGRO and Syngenta speakers of the latest developments in disease, weed and pest control, including the activities of the Optibean project, which is 12 months in to its four-year duration, funded by Defra to the tune of £1.3million.
In conclusion, food for thought turned to thought of food, when attendees were offered an appropriate pie-and-pea meal prior to departure.
No comments posted yet. Be the first to post a comment
Please enter your name
Please enter your comment
Your comment submitted successfully.Please wait for admin approval.
Some error on your process.Please try one more time.
Scotland’s Rural Affairs Secretary Richard Lochhead is calling on the Europ...
As the country settles down following the turmoil of the general election, ...
New research from the Universities of Bristol and Cambridge has found that ...
A new publication to help farmers prevent sheep lameness and offer advice o...
The Farmers’ Union of Wales is putting the spotlight on Liver fluke at next...
The UK is now third in the global rankings for utility-scale solar energy a...
A recent Rural Watch demonstration and information event gave Farmers’ Unio...
Retailers should confirm their commitments to sourcing UK lamb this season,...
A leading retailer has apologised after selling imported lamb in a Borders ...