Pulse crops worth protecting

Pea and bean growers are being advised to consider protecting crops against the risk of split pods in the build-up to harvest and safeguard yields.

With cereal harvest starting late across the country it is likely that pea and bean crops will be similarly delayed and with crops looking in good shape growers are being advised to apply a pod sealant such as Pod-Stik to protect against losses due to pod shatter.

Peter Smith of Wherry & Sons reports that most bean crops, especially winter sown crops, are in good shape having podded well.

“Winter types are in better shape than spring sown crops as they flowered before the onset of dry weather in July. In crops which flowered later we have seen some splaying of pods,” he says.

With crops in good shape and prices commanding a £50-60/tonne premium over feed wheat he says growers should be prepared to protect their crop in case of adverse weather.

“It’s about protecting what is there. We know from the experience of oilseed rape that warm and wet days increase the stress on pods and lead to increased shattering. With marrowfats trading upwards of £300 per tonne and feed beans upwards of £200/tonne plus premiums a bad year for split pods could result in heavy losses and potentially affect quality,” says Peter Smith.

Some growers however, have found applying a pod sealer reduces the risk of losses in the run up to harvest and at the time of combining.

According to De Sangosse, trials have shown that applying Pod-Stik can significantly reduce losses in both winter beans and spring peas, just as it does in oilseed rape.

“Pod-Stik works by bridging the pod seam, where the pod starts to split due to maturity and repeated wetting and drying.  Independent trials have shown that Pod-Stik can save up to 0.6t/ha in both winter beans and spring sown peas,” says De Sangosse commercial manager Simon McMunn.

“Applied at 1 litre per ha with a water rate of 100-300 litres with or without a desiccant Pod-Stik costs about £10/ha. With pea prices upwards of £200/tonne it represents an instant pay back of up to 20:1,” adds Simon McMunn.