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Manitoba bean producers faring well following harvest

Weaker Canadian dollar is offsetting the effects of a weakening in the bean market

After a decent dry bean harvest in Manitoba the market is quieting down as the crop begins to ship to the American and Mexican markets.

“We’ve had active movement here right at harvest time… during the next four weeks we’ll see it quiet down over the Christmas period,” said Grant Fehr, market segment manager for the edible bean division with Scoular Special Crops.

The bean harvest was good this year due to lack of moisture across most of the province. Dennis Lange, industry development specialist for pulses with Manitoba Agriculture, said. When harvest started seed moisture was in the 10 to 12 per cent range, but the quality was still good. Growers were able to harvest beans without damaging the seed coats.

“Everything came off in good time and no real quality issues to speak of. So that’s good for driving producers and good for the industry,” Lange said.

There was 122,000 acres of dry beans planted, according to Lange, which is average with acreage usually falling between 110,000 to 140,000 acres.

“The yields that I’m hearing from various producers around have been very good. So I could probably say average to probably slightly above average on most bean types,” he said.

This year’s crop was better than 2016, where rain affected the quality.

“This year most of Manitoba went through relatively dry conditions and basically living off last year’s moisture I guess you could say, and the edible beans seemed to perform very well,” Lange said.

As the bean harvest has finished in Manitoba and the United States, prices have dropped. According to Fehr a month ago pinto beans were at 33 cents per pound, but have fallen to 27 cents per pound.

“The thing is what’s propping our values up right now is our weakening dollar. If we had a dollar of three months ago it would look much worse,” he said.

The Canadian dollar has dropped lately sitting around the 77.5 U.S. cents mark.

As well the United States Department of Agriculture Vegetable and Pulses Outlook reported there has been record dry bean production this year in the U.S. A significant increase in harvested area bumped dry bean production to 35.3 million hundredweight.

“It takes a while for that to get filtered through. And to say that the market has been established at a floor level, that all depends on demand,” Fehr said.

Canadian producers are better off than their American counterparts however, due to the low dollar.

“Well the weaker dollar is maintaining values somewhat in a weakening market. So in the Canadian side we’re not seeing quite the deflation that they’re seeing in the U.S.,” Fehr said.

About the author

CNSC

Ashley Robinson writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Winnipeg company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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