Dry Bean Scene

North Dakota and Minnesota farmers pushed to get dry beans harvested before the rain and snow set in. Quality is becoming more of a concern as time goes on. Get the details in this week’s Dry Bean Scene made possible, in part, by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.

Record Prevent Plant Acreage

The Farm Service Agency is estimating 2019 prevent plant acreage at a record 19.6 million acres. That compares to the previous record of just under 11 million acres in 2011. South Dakota leads the nation with nearly 4 million acres of PP. Illinois and Ohio each had about 1.5 million acres reported as prevented plant. Minnesota has nearly 1.2 million; Indiana has 943,000 acres and North Dakota has 319,000 acres in PP.

North Dakota Explores Options to Assist Ag Sector

In a joint statement, North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said they are exploring every avenue to assist farmers and ranchers due to the early snowstorm and extremely wet conditions. A Secretarial Disaster Declaration is a possibility. Goehring has voiced concern to USDA about quality discounts on grain. Burgum and Goehring also encouraged farmers to seek help if they’re overwhelmed by farm stress. Read more.

USDA Drops Dry Bean Production Forecast in October Report

USDA released its October Crop Production Report on Thursday. U.S. production of dry edible beans is forecast at 23.8 million cwt, down three percent from the August forecast and down 37 percent from 2018. Area planted is estimated at 1.31 million acres, down two percent from the August forecast and down 37 percent from 2018. Area harvested is forecast at 1.26 million acres, down two percent from the August forecast and 37 percent below 2018.
 
Acreage updates were made in several states based on a thorough review of all available data. The average United States yield is forecast at 1,889 pounds per acre, a decrease of 30 pounds from the August forecast, but an increase of 29 pounds from last season. Beginning in 2019, estimates no longer include chickpeas.
 

Harvest Progress – October 7

According to USDA’s Weekly Crop Progress report, dry bean harvest in North Dakota is at 41 percent, increasing only two percent from the previous week. That is well behind 93 percent last year and 82 percent average. In Minnesota, harvest increased from 39 to 48 percent complete. That is also behind 97 percent last year and 91 percent average. The Idaho dry bean harvest is at 71 percent, increasing from 63 percent last week. In Oregon, harvest is wrapping up at 90 percent complete and at 85 percent complete in Washington. The dry bean and chickpea harvest in Montana at 90 percent complete, compared to 85 percent last week. Dry bean harvest is at 70 percent in Wyoming, 72 percent in Colorado, 80 percent in Nebraska and at 26 percent in Michigan.
 

Dry Bean Scene

Like many other crops, dry edible beans have been a headache to harvest this year. The calendar has turned to October and more than half of the crop remains in North Dakota and Minnesota fields. Hear a harvest update in the Dry Bean Scene made possible, in part, by the Northarvest Bean Growers Association.

Harvest Progress – September 30

According to USDA’s Weekly Crop Progress report, dry bean harvest in North Dakota is at 39 percent, compared to 28 percent last week. That is well behind 90 percent last year and 72 percent average. In Minnesota, harvest increased from 20 to 39 percent complete, which is also behind 92 percent last year and 82 percent average.
 
The Idaho dry bean harvest is at 63 percent, increasing from 51 percent last week. In Oregon, harvest is at 80 percent and at 66 percent in Washington. The dry bean and chickpea harvest in Montana at 85 percent complete, compared to 76 percent last week. Dry bean harvest is at 58 percent in Wyoming, 33 percent in Colorado, 71 percent in Nebraska and at 19 percent in Michigan.
Grady Thorsgard - Harvest (black and pinto)

Weather Hampers Dry Bean Harvest

By Jonathan Knutson, Agweek

 

Tim Courneya sighed when asked how the region’s 2019 dry bean harvest is faring.

“It’s so hard to tell,” said Courneya, executive vice president of the Northarvest Bean Growers Association, based in Frazee, Minn. “It’s all over the board.”

This much is clear: though a handful of dry bean farmers have finished or are close to completing their harvest, the overall harvest is well behind schedule and overall yields won’t measure up to their excellent 2018 and 2017 levels.

Heavy, widespread rains in mid-September exacerbated an already gloomy outlook. Normally, 50% to 60% of the area’s dry beans are harvested by the middle of September; only 10% were harvested by that time this year, Courneya estimated.

The late, wet spring hampered planting of dry beans, as well as wheat, slowing the normal maturity of both crops. Typically, many dry bean growers harvest their crop after they finish combining their wheat. Because wheat harvest is later than usual this year, dry bean harvest was pushed back, too, Courneya said.

North Dakota is the nation’s leader in dry bean production, accounting for about one-third of the U.S. crop; farmers in South Dakota, Minnesota and Montana grow dry beans, too. There are many types of dry beans, including pinto, navy and black. Some are sold on the open market, others grown on contract.

Some parts of the region in which dry beans are grown had relatively dry conditions this spring and summer. Though that helped some farmers plant and harvest their dry beans on schedule, it also worked against yields, Courneya said.

Heavy rains this fall will work against yields in fields that once held the potential for good yields, he said.

North Dakota dry beans averaged about 1,800 pounds per acre last year. Yields this year will be closer to “more traditional levels,” he said.

New and better varieties of dry beans, as well as farmers’ greater experience in growing the crop, have pushed up yields over time. In 2010, for example, North Dakota averaged 1,490 pounds per acre of dry beans.

Whither prices?

The prices that farmers receive for their dry beans generally is holding steady. For instance, pinto beans are fetching $21 to $22 hundredweight, compared with $20 to $22 per hundredweight last year, Courneya said.

Because yields are down this year in a key dry bean area, there could be upward pressure on bean prices.

“Prices need to sort themselves out and find their level,” Courneya said.

Demand also will influence prices. Mexico is the leading importer of U.S. dry beans, with black beans especially popular with Mexican consumers. As a result, U.S. black bean exports to Mexico — and black bean acres in the Upper Midwest — have been rising.

Given the importance of the Mexican market, the U.S. dry bean industry is hopeful that the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement, will be approved soon by the U.S. Congress, Courneya said.

“We need to get that done,” he said.

Despite the production challenges this fall, there’s reason to be optimistic about the future of dry beans, which increasingly are seen as affordable and nutritious by consumers.

Annual American consumption of dry beans peaked in the early 1940s at 9.6 pounds per person before beginning a long decline. But after bottoming out at 5.5 pounds per person in the early 1970s, annual consumption has rebounded steadily and currently stands at more than 7.5 pounds per person.

Courneya noted, however, that the supply of dry beans is rising, too.

Chinese Dry Bean Production Pegged at 195,000 MT

China’s dry bean production for 2019 is estimated at 195,000 metric tons, with supplies of 221,000 MT.
Both planting and harvest area for black beans in China has been significantly reduced due to a conversion to soybeans and low market prices. The planting and harvest area for dark red kidney beans increased 35 percent from the previous year due to high domestic demand and decreased planting and harvest area in 2018. Market demand for high-grade (also called canned grade) DRK has been high. More exporters are prepared to switch their export business to import.
 

Prevent Plant ‘Top Up’ Payments to be Paid in October

Farmers who filed a prevent plant claim will automatically receive a ‘top-up’ payment. A ten percent payment will be made to farmers with Yield Protection and Revenue Protection with the Harvest Price Option. Those with Revenue Protection will receive 15 percent.

“This has been such a tremendously tough year for producers and frankly, insurance guarantees aren’t as high as we’d like them based on the low commodity prices,” said Martin Barbre, administrator, Risk Management Agency. Barbre says the crop insurance companies will begin making the ‘top-up’ payments in mid-October. “I applaud the companies for stepping up and signing this agreement to bring these important funds to their producers.

USDA RMA Press Release