The edible bean market in southern Manitoba is at a standstill to start the new year, with end-users purchasing on a hand-to- mouth basis, but only at prices below what most farmers are willing to sell for. With early new-crop offerings also below grower expectations, planted acres may end up lower this spring.
“Buyers feel that the price will go down, because there are ample supplies,” said Tina Scott, grain buyer and seed manager with Duncan Seeds, a division of Roy Legumex, in Morden. On the other side, she said the already low prices were deterring producers from selling, especially if they can get a better return from moving their other crops such as canola or soybeans.
She said any business was only taking place on a hand-to-mouth basis.
Scott said her company was currently offering spot bids of 19 cents per pound for pintos and 26 cents per pound for both black and navy beans. She said producers were generally holding out for prices at least a few cents per pound above those levels.
Looking ahead to the spring, Scott said there are producers who would like to grow beans, but at current values may be more likely to turn to other crops that they can get a higher return from.
Roy Legumex is currently offering new-crop bids of 32 cents per pound for navy beans, 28 cents for blacks, 25 for pintos, 27 for pinks and 37 for kidney and cranberry beans. Company president Ivan Sabourin said a pullback in the other grains and oilseeds could shift some attention back to edible beans.
“We already accept the fact that there will be a decline in acres, now it’s a matter of how steep that decline will be,” said Sabourin.
Manitoba farmers grew 83,200 tonnes of edible beans in 2010-11, with 19,700 tonnes consisting of navy beans and the remainder consisting of pinto beans, black beans, and other coloured varieties.