Manitoba edible bean prospects hampered by wet weather

Photo: File

Commodity News Service Canada – Heavy rains in key edible bean growing areas of Manitoba over the past week likely cut into production prospects, although the market has yet to see any noticeable reaction from a pricing standpoint.

Some bean growing areas of the province were hit harder than others, but “they’ve all had a bit too much moisture, so there are pockets that will be lost,” said Ben Friesen, purchasing manager with Scoular in Winkler.

“We’re feeling reasonably good about (the crop), but at the same time there will be some losses,” added Friesen.

Manitoba farmers seeded 117,000 acres of edible beans in 2016 (27,000 navy, 90,000 coloured), according to Statistics Canada data. That’s up slightly from the 90,000 total acres seeded the previous year (20,000 navy, 70,000 coloured).

However, Friesen said the StatsCan numbers were possibly overstated, with crop insurance data pointing to similar or slightly lower acreage on the year.

In addition to disease pressures, the moisture could also lead to lost acres and reduced yields, said Friesen. However, he added that quality usually stays good for beans even if there are yield losses.

From a pricing standpoint “the buyers are still holding off and not buying,” said Friesen, “which indicates they still think the price will eventually go down.”

The major bean varieties grown in the province (navy, pinto, black) are all trading in the mid-30 cent per pound area, said Friesen.

Any Manitoba production issues should be supportive for prices, and Friesen was of the opinion that bids would eventually rise as the situation becomes clearer to end users. However, he added that the province is a relatively small player in the larger North American market, and production elsewhere will dictate the general price trends.

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