The window of a picture perfect harvest running up to Canadian Thanksgiving has been slammed shut by recent near torrential rains.
The edible bean harvest was, until then a tale of opposites. Some areas were experiencing unexpected better than trend yields. This was a pleasant surprise given the difficult planting season and then the variable growing season with some areas too wet others too dry.
Anecdotal reports from the coloured bean harvest:
some fields still standing and likely candidates for crop insurance claims -
disappointing yields – 12 to 15% below trend, from fields that looked average – relatively good pod set but poor seed filling and high harvest field losses.
White Bean harvest is an opposite story – for the most part. There are reports of scattered fields still standing throughout the growing region – possibly 10 to 12% of planted acres. Those growers fortunate enough to have hit the sweet spot for the planting window and did not experience lack of moisture, and were able to harvest were pleasantly (ecstatically) surprised. Yields were at least 15% above trend, quality was outstanding and prices were even better.
Some growers are running soy/edible bean dollar benchmarking comparisons in preparation for next year. From within the Coloured Bean growing fraternity there is a feeling that with the present disappointing economic returns coloured bean acres will not be there next year, even if there is a 50 dollar a bag sign up price. White beans on the other hand may be a different story.
Two grower stories:
Grower A – comparing two fields – one of IP soybeans the other white pea beans
IP soybeans – 57 bu./Ac. Priced at $12/bu.
$684 gross per acre
White Pea Beans 27 bags per acre –
15 bags at $35 $525 gross /Ac.
11 bags at $47 $517 “
Total $1042 gross per acre
White Bean returns in this case are better than 50% that of soybeans on a Gross basis. There are however attending risks which were avoided and extenuating circumstances. For this particular grower who had above trend yields and very good quality there will be low or nonexistent discounts.
Another grower’s story – Grower B shows edible beans giving him $130 gross over his IP Nattos. Average yield and discounts on the edible beans with below trend yields for his soybeans makes edible beans “a wash” for him.
Posted Ontario grower “board” price for current crop white beans is $46/bag. Indications for 2012 crop for limited acres are at $45. There will be various twists and caveats for these contacts so growers are advised to read and understand them thoroughly before signing.
In other jurisdictions:
Michigan harvest is virtually complete and reports have yields from poor (15 bags) to a high of 30 bags per acre. Black beans seem to be out yielding Navies on a head on head comparison. Michigan grower board prices were reported the same for both market classes – $49 – with some elevators withdrawing bids for black beans.
The Michigan “out market” (elevator selling price) on current crop Navies is indicated at $60/bag moving steadily to 62 and some indications that 65 may be the next high water mark.
New crop grower price for Michigan Black beans is indicated at $42/bag. Usually Navies (White Pea Bean) and black bean prices track parallel however there is little grower interest reported at a $42/bag Navy price for 2012.
In North Dakota, North America’s largest edible bean growing area, yields are reported down by 15%. A difficult wet planting and growing season coupled with an unexpected early ‘light’ frost on the crop has put enough uncertainty into the market that sellers are withdrawn. Meanwhile the out market for Min/Dak 2012 Navy beans is a nominal $50 – 52 with a grower price of $40 to 42.
Meanwhile back in Ontario growers will try salvage what they can from the remains of a weather capped crop. But until then as they sit and wait it out, one of their rain day tasks will be weighing their appetite for risk and cropping options for 2012.