Develop a pulse plan to meet customer demand

Author: Rebecca Barr | Date: 06 Feb 2015

Pulse Australia industry development manager Mary Raynes

Mary Raynes (pictured) suggests growers should start planning their pulse marketing at the start of the season.  

While planning for the 2015 cropping program is in full swing, Pulse Australia is urging growers to consider their pulse marketing plan at the start of the season, rather than the end, for the best decision-making and results.

Pulse Australia industry development manager Mary Raynes says a pulse marketing plan starts before a single seed is sown. A plan should contain:

  • The pulse, and the best variety type to be grown.
  • The marketer(s) to engage.
  • Timing and schedule of delivery over the season.
  • Delivery point and quality required for that product.
  • Requirement for a forward contract.
  • Ability to achieve the quality grade expected.
  • Fall-back position if the quality grade cannot be achieved.

“Global pulse markets are driven by factors each season in the major pulse growing countries, including Australia, Canada, France and the UK. The varieties planted, the environmental conditions and exchange rates will affect the prices – if there’s an oversupply of one commodity the price could potentially drop while demand and price could increase on another commodity,” she said.

Being aware and informed of the market trends means growers can make the best choices for their situation. For example, over the past two seasons, lentil and faba bean prices have increased towards and post-harvest, however this is coincidental, and it’s not always likely to occur.

In these instances the prices have been driven upwards due to a combination of the drought in northern Australia along with international factors. It’s important to keep abreast of these kinds of fluctuations in prices, so that growers can sell their product at the optimal time.

She says engaging a pulse marketer can help growers get the best returns by developing answers to the following questions:

  • Who is your target customer? Knowing your customer helps to direct efforts and costs towards what’s actually important to them, so you can receive the best financial return.
  • Who is your competitor? Consider both domestic and international competitors and what can be done to deliver a better proposal to the customer.
  • When is the best time to sell your product? Does it make sense to build extra storage on-farm to sell at the highest price point? Alternatively are there cost-effective local storage options?
  • What is your desired customers’ quality specification? Quality is one of the best ways to set yourself apart from competitors. What farm practices should be put in place to ensure quality specifications are met?

Ms Raynes encourage growers to build relationships with their grain marketer to understand global trends and advise growers on the best-selling options. Growers will benefit from knowing which varieties will be in demand, timing of the sale to meet a gap in supply, and the commodities quality specifications to target to get the best return.

“For example, certain premium or niche products with limited markets can only realistically be grown through a relationship with a marketer who can identify the market to ensure the product can be sold,” she said.

Most importantly Ms Raynes said that pule marketing is extremely unpredictable and growers should perform due diligence to ensure they’re selecting an appropriate marketing company; know whether the marketing company is a member of Grain Trade Australia (GTA), who is backing the company, and confirm they are financially secure. 

GRDC pushes puffed pulse trial

The GRDC is supporting research that will open up new pulse markets for growers.

One example of a niche pulse market is certain cultivars of desi chickpea, which can puff under high temperature to produce puffed chickpeas, a common snack in India and, given the lack of oil in processing, a promising product for health-conscious western societies. Not all cultivars of desi chickpeas have the qualities needed for puffing.

GRDC-funded research by the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries and Charles Sturt University has involved screening Australian genotypes to identify those with puffing potential, as well as improving the understanding of the seed attributes that are important for puffing. The existing Australian cultivars examined by this research highlighted an opportunity to improve the puffing ability of future Australian cultivars.

More Information

Mary Raynes, 0408 591 193,

Useful Resources

Pulse Australia Marketers Search

Chickpea puffing power could drive new niche markets

A snapshot of Australian Pulses: Pulse Australia 

GRDC Project Code PAL00017, DAN00139

Region South, North