Canadian dry bean crop fares well

Dry beans growing between Treherne and Portage la Prairie are doing well, while those in the Winkler to Carman region will likely have below average yields due to dry conditions and early-season wind damage. | File photo

Canada might be the one dry bean growing region in North and South America that does okay this year.

“Right now I’m looking at an average crop,” said Dennis Lange, provincial pulse specialist with Manitoba Agriculture.

The crop could really use another 25 millimetres of rain to achieve his target of 1,400 to 1,500 pounds per acre.

“We’re kind of at a critical time now where the pods are filling,” he said.

Bean acres are down in the province, falling to an estimated 153,000 acres from 185,000 acres the year before.

Lange said crops in the northern area between Treherne and Portage la Prairie are doing well, while those in the Winkler to Carman region will likely have below average yields due to dry conditions and early-season wind damage.

“I did see some plants get sheared off,” he said.

Beans are a late-seeded crop that were able to benefit from some of the recent rainfall, which arrived too late for a crop like peas. They also tend to fare better than other crops in dry years.

Lange has seen no yellowing fields in Manitoba as of early-August and that’s a good sign.

“If we start getting beans taken off in August, then yield potential goes down. If we make it to September, the yields are typically a little bit better,” he said.

Ontario is the other major bean-producing province. Dryness is not a problem there this year. In fact, he is hearing reports of white mold.

“That tells me that they have more yield potential and more growth there,” he said.

Over one-third of the U.S. crop is rated poor or very poor with over half of the crop falling into those two undesirable categories in North Dakota.

“This creates considerable concern in markets that yields will end up substantially below normal in that state,” Stat Publishing said in a recent article.

Lange has heard yields will be in the 1,200 to 1,300 pound per acre range for the largely pinto-producing state. That is about 13 to 14 percent below normal.

Farmers in the U.S. planted an estimated 642,700 acres of pintos this year, so a 200 to 300 pound per acre reduction in the top pinto state could result in a big cut in production.

The USDA will release its first official U.S. dry bean production estimate on Aug. 12.

Brazil’s second crop of beans is a huge disappointment, according to a Global Pulse Confederation article.

Analysts were initially anticipating a 32 percent increase in the country’s black bean production, which would have been a big rebound from last year’s disappointing crop.

But farmers are likely to harvest 226,000 tonnes of the crop, according to Companhia Nacional de Abastecimento (CONAB), a seven percent increase over last year.

Second crop Carioca bean production is estimated at 447,300 tonnes, a 21 percent decline from the previous year.

Many growers switched out of beans to corn and soybeans and there were poor growing conditions in Parana and Mato Grosso.

“At the beginning of this year we had high expectations for substantial growth in the total number of tonnes produced in Brazil,” Leonardo Arnizaut a trader with Iberica Corretora told GPC.

“We did not, however, expect to have the biggest hybrid crisis and the driest year in almost a century.”

GPC reports that Argentina’s bean crop will have below average yields and smaller than usual calibre sizes due to dry conditions in April and May.

Argentina exports the white alubia, black and other beans but this year’s program could be curtailed by high freight rates, poor container availability, currency devaluation and historically low levels on the Parana River.

Contact sean.pratt@producer.com

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