Pea growers who had their contracts with Birds Eye pulled earlier this year have struck a new £3m supply deal with Ardo UK.

The Anglian Pea Growers co-operative will supply 14,800 tonnes of peas to the Belgian-owned frozen food supplier next year. Each of the 150 growers is set to make an average of £20,000.

After losing the Birds Eye contract in February, growers did not plant vining peas this year and instead switched to other crops, such as spring barley and dried beans.

The tie-up was good news because returns on peas were better than for other crops such as cereals and oilseed rape, said APG chairman Richard Hirst. "Peas are high-value and an integral part of the farming process as they serve to put nitrogen back into the soil." The produce would be grown, prepared, packed and consumed within the UK, added Stephen Waugh, MD of Ardo UK.