Marrowfat variety Octavia is showing promise among pulse specialists, thanks to its high yields and standing ability.

Wherry & Sons and Robin Appel both predict that the variety will increase in market share and growing area during the next two years, providing seed stock levels can meet demand. The variety is bred by Nordic Seeds and marketed by Elsoms Seeds.

Attractive proposition

According to Franek Smith of Wherry & Sons, it’s a ‘solid choice’ for pulse growers. “As a high yielding marrowfat variety with a 7 for standing ability at harvest, Octavia has already caught the eye of many pulse growers.

“It’s well-liked on-farm with a reputation for achieving high yields. It’s not yet reached its full market potential and I believe grower demand is certainly there,” says Franek.

He points out that Wherry & Sons has sold out of Octavia for 2024 and already has significant interest for 2025.

“Key end markets for Octavia, including both wasabi peas and allergy-free pea-crisps, should help to keep future demand high alongside the agronomic benefits that pulses bring to all rotations.

“Although most growers understand that pulses are nitrogen fixing and make an excellent entry for a first wheat, I think it’s also important to remember that they offset more carbon than they require,” he says.

Standing ability

Pulse trader and marrowfat specialist, Andrew Brown of Robin Appel, supports these comments. As a former pulse grower, he sees Octavia’s agronomic trait of standing ability at harvest as the one of the keys to its future success.

“Historically, marrowfat peas always had a reputation of being more difficult to grow due to their weaker straw. However, I believe Octavia has helped to change that negative perception with its ability to stand well at harvest and go through the combine more smoothly than its predecessors,” says Andrew.

He explains that for end-markets, the known health benefits of marrowfat peas and established markets for plant-based protein in Asia should offer a strong future for varieties such as Octavia.

“I can see Octavia taking more market share and securing a larger growing area during the next 2-3 years, providing there’s an increase in future seed stocks of the variety to ensure greater availability,” concludes Andrew.