Large Manitoba bean harvest delayed by rains

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

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

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

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 in the past.

In addition, growers 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 that there was 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. Total production of all types of beans in the province is forecast at 152,500 tonnes by Statistics Canada, which would be the largest crop in the province since 2006.

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

Navy beans are currently priced in the 31 to 32 cents per pound 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 to 38 cents and kidney beans at roughly 48 cents per pound.

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