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Pinto prices strong, farmers weigh new-crop options

CNS Canada –– Manitoba pinto bean spot prices are holding steady near yearly highs, as adverse weather during the growing season scaled back production.

“It was a pretty wet year, compared to the previous year,” said Dennis Lange, Manitoba Agriculture’s industry development specialist for pulse crops in Altona.

Areas of southern Manitoba saw heavy rainfall throughout the summer, which hurt production. “And that’s where we grow a lot of pinto beans,” Lange said.

Manitoba’s pinto yields were down from the previous year, he said, estimating the range between 1,600 to 1,700 pounds per acre. That compares with an estimated average of about 1,800 to 2,200 lbs./ac.

According to Prairie Ag Hotwire, spot prices for pinto beans in Manitoba are holding near 38.5 cents/lb., which is up on the month and about six and a half cents per pound higher than last year.

Looking to next growing season, Lange said he hopes acres for dried beans will hold steady, though the commodity will see some competition from soybeans.

“Time will tell, because we’re going to see an increase in soybean acres this year.”

About 117,000 acres of edible beans were planted in Manitoba in 2016, according to data from Statistics Canada.

As new-crop bids continue to emerge, farmers will make decisions on which crops to grow, especially closer to spring.

“We’re probably going to see some of the other commodities being quite strong as well. One nice thing about dried beans, though, is it has its key growers,” Lange said.

“They’ll rotate their fields and generally plant a similar amount each year, as long as the prices are competitive.”

– Jade Markus writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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