Glacier FarmMedia COVID-19 & the Farm

Pulse weekly outlook: Edible bean yields lower across North America

pinto beans
Pinto beans. (Vergani_Fotografia/iStock/Getty Images)

MarketsFarm — A challenging harvest season spelled trouble for dry bean yields across North America, according to one report from the Global Pulse Confederation.

Mexico’s spring-summer bean crop yield was pegged at around 400,000 tonnes, which was 52 per cent lower than the previous year. The loss in production was largely due to drought conditions in key growing regions. Because of the significantly lower output, the report expected Mexico to be “in the market for black beans” in the coming year.

Canada’s yield loss was less drastic, though Canadian producers battled a dry growing season and a cold, wet fall.

According to Statistics Canada, the 2019 bean harvest totaled 316,800 million tonnes, which was seven per cent lower than the year prior. That was mainly due to fields that went unharvested due to challenging weather.

In Ontario, 90 to 95 per cent of bean crops were harvested, according to Keven Sawchuk of Viterra. In Manitoba, about 15 per cent of beans were unharvested, and further west about five to seven per cent of beans stayed in their fields.

The most recent crop production report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) detailed the 2019 dry bean crop yield was down four per cent from the previous year, totaling just over 1.079 million tonnes.

Reduced yields were caused by a cool, wet spring delaying planting in key growing regions in Michigan and Minnesota. While the growing season was more favourable, early snow and cool temperatures during harvest also impacted conditions.

“With the cool, wet weather, we had more white mold issues than normal,” Mark Dombeck, a Minnesota producer, told the Global Pulse Confederation.

As edible bean production was lower across North America, carryout volumes will likely be negligible. The report said “dry bean supplies will fall short of demand in 2019-2020,” but that could spell opportunity for other types of beans.

“Because of the short supply on pintos and whites, we are starting to see some substitution effects,” said Sawchuk.

“That’s creating opportunities for small reds, pinks, black and even kidney types.”

— Marlo Glass reports for MarketsFarm, a Glacier FarmMedia division specializing in grain and commodity market analysis and reporting.

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