VIDEO: Pinto, black bean supply may be tight

The U.S. Dry Bean Council is forecasting tightening supply of all the major bean classes grown in Canada due to reduced plantings in the U.S. and Canada. And demand is expected to be strong for many classes of beans due to production problems around the world. | File photo

CESME, Turkey — Supply will be tight for two of the main classes of dry beans grown in Canada, according to an expert.

“I think there is great potential for the pinto bean market to get tight,” said Randy Duckworth, director of worldwide activities for the U.S. Dry Bean Council.

He forecasts total supply from the United States and Canada of 548,969 tonnes, which would be 11 percent smaller than the previous four-year average.

Duckworth said there is a good chance production will be even lower because a lot of farmers in the U.S. made a last minute switch of dry beans to soybeans.

There is strong demand from Mexico, the United States and the Dominican Republic and carryout from the 2015-16 crop will be at the lowest level in a long while.

“The U.S. and Canada pinto bean situation could get very interesting,” he told delegates attending the 2016 Global Pulse Convention.

The black bean situation could also get interesting because of a poor bean harvest in Brazil.

Brazil’s bean acres have fallen 27 percent over the past decade, but that has been counteracted by yields that have risen 31 percent over the same period.

However, yields were disappointing this year because of a combination of early-season drought, late-season flooding and frost.

Marcelo Eduardo Luders, president of the Dry Bean Brazilian Institute, is forecasting 2.85 million tonnes of total dry bean production, down from the January estimate of 3.08 million tonnes.

That falls well short of the country’s annual consumption of 3.35 million tonnes, 67 percent of which is carioca beans.

“We have already lost 95,000 tonnes in black beans and carioca beans,” he said.

“This is a big problem in Brazil.”

Duckworth said no other country produces carioca beans, so they will need to substitute with imports of light speckled kidney, cranberry, pinto and black beans.

“There is potential there for them to have to import a lot of beans, a lot of beans,” he said.

Brazil imported 150,000 tonnes of beans last year but has bought as much as 312,300 tonnes in previous years.

Duckworth believes much of the current shortfall will be made up by importing black beans because there is decent available supply.

“I expect it will result in a tightening up of those supplies,” he said.

Duckworth initially thought there was going to be a huge carryout of navy beans heading into 2016-17 but there has been good movement of the crop in the waning months of the current crop year.

He sees 266,733 tonnes of supply in the U.S. and Canada, down 21 percent from the previous four-year average.

China has gone from exporting one million tonnes of beans to an estimate of slightly more than 200,000 tonnes for 2016.

“I don’t remember a lower level of exports,” said Duckworth.

Chinese growers are not happy with bean prices and movement.

Duckworth sees 330,000 tonnes of Chinese bean production this year with decreases in dark red kidney and white bean production and increases in light speckled kidney and black beans.

Farmers in Argentina planted a large crop of 1.01 million acres despite low prices because there were lacklustre low corn and soybean prices at the time of planting.

“For the second year in a row, we’ve seen very high planting numbers for Argentina, even though the bean prices have been quite low and the farmers essentially are not making money,” he said.

Argentina produces mainly black and alubia beans. Duckworth said the crop will be harvested soon, but results won’t be good.

“It was really quite an array of weather conditions that hit Argentina this year,” he said.

“Overall it probably dropped production by about 30 percent so far.”

Bean production is also down in South Africa, Zimbabwe and Malawi, which were hit by drought.

Mexico’s crop hasn’t been planted yet. The country has been a big importer of black and pinto beans the last couple of years.

“If Mexico doesn’t have a good crop, they’ll have to import a lot more pinto beans and black beans putting even more pressure on those markets,” said Duckworth.

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