Edible beans set for increased Man. acres

CNS Canada — Relatively favourable prices should see more acres seeded to edible beans in Manitoba this spring, according to market participants.

After seeding only about 94,000 acres of edible beans (white and coloured combined) in 2013, early indications are pointing to area in the 120,000- to 130,000-acre rage, depending on the spring weather, said Dennis Lange, a provincial pulse crop specialist at Altona, Man.

Good yields in 2013 brought some attention back to the crop, he said. Navy beans saw yields of above 2,200 pounds per acre in 2013, which compares with more traditional levels near 1,800 lbs./acre.

Contracted pricing in the 30 to 35 cents per pound range for the top three varieties — pinto, navy and black beans — also brought in some interest, he said.

Lange had one caution for growers thinking about planting edible beans this year. Farmers should make sure there were no soybeans grown on the field in recent rotations, as volunteer soybeans are considered a food allergen and can lead to quality downgrades.

“You don’t want to end up with any marketing challenges in the fall,” he said.

Peter Klippenstein of SaskCan Pulse Trading at St. Joseph, Man. agreed lower prices on other grains could lead to an increase of about 20-25 per cent in edible bean acres — although he added that actual area will also depend on whether there is a spring rally in the competing crops.

As for the old-crop market, edible beans are facing the same logistical problems as the larger crops, he said.

Difficulties getting rail freight were causing backlogs, he said. “It’s kind of a nightmare right now… but we keep trying.”

— Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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