Premium prices Small acres and Argentine crop failure should create favourable prices
MORDEN, Man. — Farmers with the guts to grow edible beans this year should get a bellyful of good prices this year, says a leading exporter of the crops.
Low acres in the North American bean belt and devastation of the crop in Argentina add up to big prices and good demand.
“Most varieties look bullish,” said Legumex Walker special crops merchandiser Ivan Sabourin, as he gave a market outlook during the Manitoba Pulse Growers Association annual field day.
“Hopefully we can take advantage of this year and everyone will do well.”
Bad prices compared to other crop choices last year led to low acres being seeded in Manitoba.
Then the heart of North Dakota bean country was hit by saturated soils in the spring, preventing much seeding.
That left North American production low, so the wreck of the crop in Argentina has left global tradeable supplies short and buyers scrambling to find supplies.
Black beans were particularly badly hit by the Argentine wreck.
“They virtually had a zero crop last year,” said Sabourin.
The major producer and exporter will actually have to import seed for its next crop.
Pinto bean production is very low in North America after Manitoba growers slashed acres and North Dakota growers couldn’t seed what they planned. In the Grafton and Devil’s Lake areas, farmers couldn’t get onto their fields and didn’t get their contracted acres in, Sabourin said.
Altogether, North American production will probably be down 40 percent. That has radically changed the supply and demand balance.
“The carryover we thought might be an issue this year should not be present going into this crop year,” said Sabourin.
There will probably be less than two million bags in store this crop year, which is little more than a month’s supply.
Manitoba growers might not see the same premium prices compared to North Dakota prices this year, Sabourin said, because the premiums were based on export sales out of Montreal. This year sales are likely to be dominated by purchases by American processors, so American growers are likely to have the freight advantage.
“If you’re comparing the North Dakota price from last year to this year, don’t expect those same premiums as we saw this year,” said Sabourin.
Few Manitoba farmers grew cranberry beans this year, after facing poor returns because of Argentine and Chinese competition, but anyone who did is looking at good prices.
“They should be near all-time highs,” said Sabourin.
A perennial wild card in the market is the Chinese situation, both for production and stocks.
“It’s still a question mark. We don’t have a clear picture of what China has to offer for next year.”