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Edible bean acres set to double

Edible beans are shaping up to be a popular crop to plant in southern Manitoba this spring, with bean area set to rebound off of 2011’s very small acreage.

Market analyst Darren Frank, of FarmLink Marketing Solutions, said that of all the new-crop options in southern Manitoba, edible beans might be seeing the most interest. Beans “are sure the leader right now,” said Frank, noting that new-crop pricing options are very strong for beans.

“Right now (edible beans) are pencilling in as a very profitable option,” said Ivan Sabourin, of Roy Legumex Inc. in St. Jean Baptiste, noting that acres are expected to nearly double the 2011 level.

Manitoba farmers planted only 51,000 acres of edible beans in 2011, well below the 146,000 planted the previous year. Growers in the northern U.S. also saw a sharp reduction in acres, leading to a very tight North American supply situation.

Sabourin said the main pinto, black, and navy bean varieties will all see acreage increases in 2012, as historically strong prices will encourage area back into the crop.

Even if acres do double across North America, Sabourin said the carry-over for the 2012-13 crop is still expected to be the second tightest ever, after the current 2011-12 marketing year.

Spot edible bean prices in Manitoba can be found in the 50-cents-per-pound area for the most part, said Sabourin. New-crop bids are generally at a discount, with new-crop contracting for pinto, black, and navy beans coming in at around 40 cents per pound. The more exotic varieties are attracting bids as high as 50 cents per pound.

“We’ll clean the bins out this year across North America,” said Sabourin, noting that he’d never seen a carry-out as small as what’s projected this year.

With the carry-over expected to be near zero, that will make weather conditions during the 2012 growing season very important in moving the spot prices, said Sabourin noting that it will likely take a couple more years before beans are back in an oversupply situation.

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Phil Franz-Warkentin - MarketsFarm

Phil Franz-Warkentin writes for MarketsFarm specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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