Pulse weekly outlook: Rains delay large Manitoba bean harvest

MarketsFarm — Manitoba farmers seeded their largest dry edible bean crop in more than a decade this spring, but adverse conditions are causing delays getting it off the fields.

“Last week we had some substantial moisture in the Red River Valley,” pulse specialist Dennis Lange of Manitoba Agriculture said, noting the system brought up to 4.5 inches of rain in many areas.

Manitoba’s edible bean harvest was only six per cent done as of Sept. 17, well off the three-year average of 62 per cent done. Harvest activity ahead of the rains Sept. 20-21 likely brought the level up to 30 to 40 per cent complete, according to Lange.

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While the extent of any damage remains to be seen, “if the beans are standing I’m not as concerned about (the rain) than if they’re windrowed,” said Lange.

He expected the moisture might lead to deterioration and discolouration on any crops that were swathed and lying on the ground, but added that more growers are straight-cutting than were in the past.

Growers also likely focused on harvesting kidney and cranberry beans ahead of the rains, as those crops could be more susceptible to downgrades.

“It’s a lot of rain, but many areas were pretty dry,” said Lange, noting very little standing water in the previously dry areas after the precipitation.

Manitoba farmers seeded 163,700 acres of edible beans in 2019, with roughly a quarter of the area planted to navy beans and coloured beans the remainder. Statistics Canada has forecast total production of all types of beans in the province at 152,500 tonnes, which would be the largest crop in the province since 2006.

StatsCan forecasts Canada’s edible bean crop at 363,351 tonnes, with Ontario the second-largest grower behind Manitoba at an estimated 124,300 tonnes.

Navy beans are currently priced in the 31-32 cents/lb. area in Manitoba, while pinto beans top out at 29 cents and black beans at 31 cents, according to data compiled by Prairie Ag Hotwire. Cranberry beans were priced at 35-38 cents and kidney beans at roughly 48 cents per pound.

— Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for MarketsFarm, a Glacier FarmMedia division specializing in grain and commodity market analysis and reporting.

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