In the February (Feb. 20th) edition of the USDA Economic Research Service’s Vegetables and Melons Outlook, Gary Lucier brings forward some interesting insights.
Acreage intentions for dry edible beans in the United States remains fluid. Some indicators are pointing toward small changes in total dry bean acreage this year and next. However, there may be more substantial changes among and between bean market classes.
Some market classes such as cranberry, light and dark red kidney, Great Northern, small red, and perhaps navy beans could experience increases in seeded area, a few hitting 10% or more.
Other classes such as pinto, black, blackeye, and garbanzo beans (Chickpea), could drop by 5 to 9% from a year earlier. With average yields and acreage losses, the 2008 dry bean crop would be at least 10% lower than 2007.
The first survey-based examination of 2008 row crop area (including dry beans) will be available on March 30 when USDA releases the Prospective Plantings report.
External market forces competing for limited land and production resources are forcing dry bean prices to reflect more than just their internal supply and demand factors. Imports are becoming a larger share of a few market classes and foreign products may gain an increasing share of the U.S. market. One question that arises is whether over the longer term, some classes of U.S. beans will be priced out of the domestic market since their value will be a function of trying to maintain parity with elevated prices of traditional field crops.
Sharply higher prices for dry beans are drawing increased attention to the U.S. market from other bean-producing nations.
For the full report click here, the dry bean report starts on page 20.
Another USDA website ‘the briefing room’ can be found here