Market Insight: Dry bean stocks, acres down

Dry edible bean supplies have been falling in Canada in recent years, and are poised to
drop again by the end of 2008-09 to historically very tight levels. FarmLink is forecasting
ending stocks to come in at just 9,000 tonnes, compared to 20,000 tonnes in 2007-08 and
the five-year average of 32,000 tonnes.

Further threatening the supply base, 2008 acres are expected to be down by over 20 per cent from last year. With all crops showing strong returns, and given the greater workload and risk associated with growing dry beans, even historically high prices of almost 40 cents per pound for navies around seeding time didn’t attract enough interest to prevent a decline in the seeded area.

Now, concerns are starting to arise with the Ontario crop, which could reduce 2008 acres
and yield potential from earlier expectations, further tightening Canadian dry bean
supplies in the coming crop year. The Manitoba crop is off to a good start in general, but
some growers have seen too much moisture and report delayed development, which
could increase the risk of frost damage in the fall.

Northern U.S. states including North and South Dakota, Minnesota and Michigan are also
important bean-producing regions but there, like in Canada, the market had a hard time
attracting enough acres in 2008. Corn, wheat and soybean returns were much more
competitive this year than bean farmers are used to seeing.

Outside of North America, the market is watching China, who has emerged as a dry bean
exporter in recent years and Argentina, where farmer strikes are threatening to limit
exports. A reduction or a rebound in competition from these regions, along with the
weather in the key North American bean areas in the weeks and months ahead, will be

the main factors to watch for in this market going forward.

— The FarmLink Market Insight was researched and produced by FarmLink Marketing Solutions, a marketing advisory service for Prairie farmers, and is published here with permission of the authors.

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