Cancellation of Birds Eye contract leads to increase in interest for spring beans

Interest in spring beans has increased following Birds Eye's decision to cancel its contract with Anglia Pea Growers (APG), Processors & Growers Research Organisation (PGRO) chief executive Salvador Potter has confirmed.

PGRO held a well-attended meeting in Suffolk last month to give APG members market and agronomy advice on crops to grow in place of vining peas. Potter said the favoured alternative "will be spring beans rather than peas". He explained: "Interest in growing spring pulses remains high and has increased further recently after the vining pea contracts for Lowestoft were withdrawn, leaving 4,000-plus ha open for alternative cropping - and this area will mainly go to pulses."

Meanwhile, chairman of the APG and NFU Board for Horticulture, member Richard Hirst, told NFU members in their newsletter last week that the grower group "will be back".

He said: "One aim is to try and set up some arrangements that will get away from the annual haggle over price, and we are determined that we will not return just for the sake of it and undercut an already fragile market.

Hirst added: "Hopefully the loss of our 10 per cent proportion of the UK production will help those growers still producing peas to achieve better prices next year, and an average 2010 season will certainly leave crop tight come 2011."

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