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USDA Dry Bean Outlook
January 17, 2006

U.S. dry edible bean production in 2005 is forecast at 27.2 million cwt, 53% above last year, according to USDA. Harvested acreage is forecast at 1.57 million acres, 29% above 2004. The average U.S. yield is forecast at 1,731 pounds per acre, 272 lbs above a year ago.  Per-acre yield was 19% higher than the weather-reduced low of a year earlier.

Production exceeded that of 2004 in 16 of the 17 producing States. Most notable production increases from last year are
Minnesota up 111%, Colorado 91% higher, and North Dakota increasing 82%. Production is up from a year ago for large lima, baby lima, navy, great northern, pinto, light red kidney, dark red kidney, pink, small red, blackeye, and small and large chickpeas.

U.S. dry bean growers harvested about 1.57 million acres in 2005, 29% greater than a year earlier. Planted area in 2005 increased 24% in response to strong dry bean prices, low carryover stocks, and less attractive prices and revenue streams for alternative crops.

N.D., MN production

Despite attractive dry bean prices last spring, N.D. growers only increased planted area 11% over 2004. However, most of the increase in production within this top dry bean state came from a 50% increase in yields  fully recovering from the frost-reduced yields of 2004.  Dry edible bean production in N.D. is estimated at 8.66 million cwt for 2005, the highest production since 2002 when 10.6 million cwt were produced.

Total planted area in N.D. at 620,000 acres is up from 2004s 560,000 acres. Harvested area, at 570,000 acres, was well above last years 475,000 acres harvested. This is the largest harvested acreage since 2002, when 690,000 acres were harvested from 790,000 acres planted. The statewide average yield for 2005 is 1,520 pounds per harvested acre, 520 lbs above 2004, which was the lowest since 1993.

Pintos accounted for 76% of the total edible bean production in N.D., navies 15.5, blacks 2.9, pinks 1.9, all chickpeas (garbanzo) 1.3 and great northern 0.8.

All other dry edible bean classes represent 1.6% of the states total production.

Total planted area in
Minnesota was 145,000 acres, up 26% from 2004.  Harvested area was 135,000 acres, 35% above 100,000 acres harvested in 2004.  Production was 2.43 million cwt, double the 1.15 million cwt in 2004.  Average yield was 1,800 lbs per harvested acre, 57% above 2004.  Navies accounted for 37% of total edible bean production in Minnesota, dark red kidneys, 27%; pintos, 13%; followed by light red kidneys, pink, black, small red, and others.

production estimates by class

The first estimate of dry bean production by class was released by USDA in early December, and with improved yields and increased acreage, national output for all major classes increased from a year ago, with strong increases noted for pinto, navy, and Great Northern beans.

Among the top four dry bean classes, only black bean output declined as growers cut acreage with beginning stocks above those of a year earlier. Double-digit gains also characterized most other classes except large limas (up 1%), blackeyes (up 4%), and small whites (down 29%).

Output of pinto beans, which accounts for the largest share (48%) of
U.S. dry bean production, rose 68% to 13.1 million cwt, rebuilding stocks depleted by last years small crop.

Navy bean production increased 84% from a year earlier, with
North Dakota accounting for 34% of the crop and Michigan 33%. Despite this increase, during the first 6 years of this decade, navy bean production has averaged 41% below the average of the 1990s. This is a direct reflection of both reduced export demand (down 36%) and domestic disappearance (down 33%). Although navy exports have declined, they remain vital to the industry, with nearly one-fourth of annual supplies being shipped to other countries.

Domestic dry bean use (and a portion of export demand) likely suffered partly as a result of various fad diets (i.e. low-carb diets), which received strong international media attention, but have since waned.

Carryover stocks still relatively low

Carryover stocks of quality beans at the start of the marketing season on September 1 were reportedly light, being low or nearly exhausted for several classes. Now that the 2005 crop is a bit larger than earlier estimates, U.S. dry bean supplies are expected to be more than adequate to satisfy average domestic and international demand this season.

With the previous two dry bean crops being smaller than average, dry bean stocks were drawn down to relatively low levels to start the 2005/06 marketing year. As a result, prices over the past season reflected these reduced supplies, with the season average grower price for all dry beans averaging an estimated $25.70 per cwt  the highest since 1989 and up 40% from the previous season and 50% above two seasons ago.

With low beginning stocks, available supply across all bean classes is still estimated to be the second lowest in the past 16 years, despite the higher production.  Thus, prices for most bean classes will be lower than in 2004 but are not expected to collapse because the increase in 2005 production is likely to be about sufficient for use over the coming season, with carryover stocks again expected to be relatively low coming into the 2006/07 season.  For 2005/06, the national season average grower price is projected to range from $18 to $20 per cwt.






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