Man. edible bean harvest wraps up, hail damage evident

(Peggy Greb photo courtesy ARS/USDA)

CNS Canada — Manitoba’s edible bean harvest is done, but markets are sitting little-traded and offering low prices to producers, analysts say.

The effects of hail storms in south-central Manitoba are now apparent, said Dennis Lange, a farm production advisor with Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Development at Altona.

“It’s going to affect yields and the quality to some degree, because when you get a bean that’s hail-damaged, you get a blemish on the seed,” he said.

At worst, several fields lost three to four per cent of their potential yield to storms in August.

Statistics Canada has pegged this year’s Canada-wide production at 244,900 tonnes, down from 2014’s 273,200.

Manitoba’s edible bean production for 2015 has been reported as average to slightly below average. Production this year will near 77,800 tonnes, down from 82,700 the year prior.

“I think most producers are about happy with what they see this year; it’s about average quality,” Lange said.

Now that harvest is finished, producers are starting to think about what types of beans to grow next year, but will likely wait until about mid-winter.

Farmers don’t usually fluctuate too much, Lange said; they usually drop maybe a few thousand acres every once in a while, depending on what contracts are like.

“They’re always looking at preparing land going into next year as well,” Lange said.

Normally prices would see some volatility due to harvest pressure, but things have been different this year, and the market has sat quiet for a while, said Peter Klippenstein of SaskCan Pulse Trading.

Delivered elevator pinto bean prices range from 21 to 32 cents per pound and black beans are, at highest, 25 cents per pound, according to Prairie Ag Hotwire.

Klippenstein said those prices are low compared to previous years.

The little-changed edible bean market can be chalked up to a slower global economy, and competition from Mexico, said Ben Friesen, processing manager for Legumex Walker.

“Mexico does have a good crop and they’re exporting pinto beans instead of importing. That causes a lot of quietness in the market.”

In coming weeks, he said, the market will likely see more producer selling.

“I think it’s going to take a month or so to get everybody sorted out, see what really is available.”

Jade Markus writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting. Follow her at @jade_markus on Twitter.

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