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Dry Edible Beans Output to Rise in 2002
March 15, 2002


Output to Rise in 2002

Low stocks and higher prices stemming from last years small crop are expected to lead to a substantial increase in dry bean acreage this spring. Current forecasts indicate growers could increase planted area 35 percent over last years 1.43 million acres. In terms of potential returns, dry beans appear to be favorable alternatives to other row crops this spring. Soybean prices are expected to remain below a year ago and corn and wheat prices, although improved, remain subdued. Market prices for program crops remain below Commodity Credit Corp. loan rates in most areas. A firmer idea of 2002 row crop area (including dry beans) will be available on March 30 when USDA/NASS releases the Prospective Plantings report.

Assuming average weather this summer and fall, a further boost to production is also likely to come from higher average yields and a reduction in acreage abandonment. While acres planted may rise 35 percent, area harvested could increase more than 40 percent. Spurred by such events as drought in Michigan and New York and irrigation water shortages in the West, acreage abandonment was well above average last year (13 percent compared with an average of 6 percent over the previous 5 years) and the highest since 1993.

Finally, a return to trend yields this season could also add to potential dry bean crops. National dry bean yield averaged 15.7 cwt per acre last yearabout 100 pounds below trend. For 2002, the 30-year trend yield is estimated to be 16.9 cwt. Taken together, these factors point to a potential U.S. dry bean crop of 29 to 31 million cwt in 2002.

Grower Prices Up 36 Percent

With stocks dwindling, dealer prices and grower bids have continued to strengthen for many of the major bean classes as the marketing season progresses. The U.S. aggregate grower price for all dry beans averaged 36 percent above a year earlier during the first 5 months of the marketing year (September 2001 through January 2002). During this time, wholesale (dealer) prices for several of the major classes changed as follows:

  • Pintos, $26.90 up 30 percent from a year earlier;
  • Navy, $27.35 up 69 percent;
  • Great Northern, $23.35 down 4 percent;
  • Black, $36.75 up 129 percent;
  • Light red kidney, $33.15 up 25 percent;
  • Chickpeas, $26.90 down 15 percent;
  • Baby lima, $29.65 up 13 percent.

Exports Down 32 Percent

During the first 3 months of the 2001/02 marketing year (Sep.-Nov.), dry bean export volume declined 32 percent from a year earlier (2000/01) and 13 percent from 2 years earlier (1999/2000). Exports were down for every class except black (up 26 percent), baby lima (up 68 percent), and light red kidney (up 17 percent). Among the top bean classes, volume was lower for navy (down 39 percent), pinto (down 37 percent), and Great Northern (down 27 percent). Exports declined to Japan (down 47 percent), Mexico (down 34 percent), and the United Kingdom (down 26 percent).



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Northarvest Bean Growers Association | 50072 East Lake Seven Road | Frazee, MN 56544
Ph: 218-334-6351 | Fax: 218-334-6360 | Email: