Pea growers have been working around the clock to harvest one of the best quality crops on record using millions of pounds of specialist equipment financed by Clydesdale Bank’s Agribusiness team.
Anglian Pea Growers (APG) Ltd is currently in the middle of the 50-day harvest season which requires seven £300,000 mobile pea viners, as well as 18 lorries, 10 tractors, six high-lift trailers, three mobile workshops, fuel and water bowsers.
Thanks to favourable growing conditions the 2009 season has produced one of the best ever results in terms of quality for APG across 11,500 acres of farmland in Norfolk and Suffolk. The quality of the harvest, which is destined exclusively for Birds Eye, is the single most important factor with the tenderness of every load of peas from the fields measured by a tenderometer.
Nicholas Hunt, Clydesdale Bank Agribusiness Partner, said: “We are delighted to see APG enjoying such a successful harvest. It is quite a feat to keep the machines working 24/7 for 50 days non-stop. APG has been working with Birds Eye for 50 years and this is a classic example of an integrated farm to consumer operation as advocated by Defra.
“The finance APG has received from Clydesdale allows it to operate three separate harvesting teams which operate along the A140 from Walcott in Norfolk down to Nacton in Suffolk.”
Richard Hirst, chairman of APG which was formed 10 years ago and now has 200 members, added: “This is certainly shaping up to be a very good year for us in terms of the quality of the crop. The assistance we have received from Clydesdale has helped us enormously and it is comforting to have the support of a bank who fully understand our business needs.
“The other important factor has been the weather, with the cold winter helping to prepare the seedbeds for when we started to plant at the beginning of March. A dry spring then led to good root development with the seasonal rain encouraging growth, resulting in the high quality of our 2009 crop.”