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Bean Briefs
January 17, 2006

Dry Beans High in NDSU Crop Budgets for 06

Dry edible beans are projected amongst the crops expected to offer the best return to labor in management in 2006, according to North Dakota State University Extension crop budget estimates for 2006, which can be found online at

The budget projections for regions throughout
North Dakota are not absolute; obviously crop costs and profit vary by farm, and are greatly influenced by yield.  However, the budgets are useful for baseline comparisons and crop planning.  Last years budgets also indicated that dry edible beans were among the few crops that offered the best profit potential.  Obviously, however, commodity prices and yields are extremely difficult to predict from one year to the next, so its important to evaluate crop insurance and consider the financial downside risk, as well as the upside potential of each crop within your rotation.

Building Hispanic appeal

Understanding the Hispanic market can pay dividends, including the food business.  Buying power of the nations 41 million Hispanics is already at parity with African Americans and, by the end of the decade, is expected to surpass it.

A seminar was held recently in
Louisville, Ken., to help businesses gain insights into what engages Hispanic consumers.  One lesson is that the Hispanic market is diverse.  For example, generally, Central Americans dont eat hot chilies, guacamole is not eaten in the Caribbean, and while Cubans enjoy black beans, Puerto Ricans prefer pinto beans, said Glenn Rodriguez, a speaker at the seminar. The most important principle is talk to your customer, said Mike Robinson, another speaker.

At the same time, broader patterns do exist. For example, years of research have found that Hispanics have much greater brand loyalty than other consumers. They also tend to be less impulsive buyers, not only closely inspecting the contents in a box but also sometimes taking more time before deciding whether to make a significant purchase. Hispanics return fewer items, dont often call a store to ask questions and make only limited use of credit, Rodriguez said. Hispanic families also tend to cook at home and eat out less, and gravitate toward familiar products that remind them of home and heritage.

The seminar pointed out that targeting the Hispanic market requires a plan and a strategy, and targeted marketing such as radio and print advertising in Spanish-language media as well as marketing efforts such as staffing a store event to attract Hispanic consumers. (
Louisville Courier-Journal)

Prison Inmates Gotta Eat Too

Like it or not, the U.S. prison population of over 2 million needs to be fed, and it represents a segment of the food market, including beans.

During winter, some inmates will actually turn themselves in, notes Hempstead County Ark. Jail supervisor Louise Phillips.  A lot of them (inmates) get better food in here than they do on the streets, she says. We are required by law to feed them properly.  Phillips notes too that a proper diet can have a positive effect on inmate behavior  prisoners who are adequately fed are less likely to cause problems.

A normal breakfast at the Hempstead County Jail might include biscuits with gravy, sausage, fruit and oatmeal. A typical lunch might include enchiladas and pinto beans. For supper, the inmates might be fed chicken and dumplings, cornbread, English peas and cake.

Pediatrician: Beans Key Source of Dietary Fiber

Constipation is no laughing matter for some parents; in fact its a common problem for infants and children and a common cause of visits to a pediatrician, according to Dr. Vincent Iannelli, associate professor of Pediatrics at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School and creator of, a web site for medical and parenting advice.

While there are some medical causes of constipation, Iannelli says most children who are constipated are normal, and preventing and treating constipation can often be achieved with dietary modifications.

This includes decreasing foods that are constipating, such as cows milk, bananas, yogurt, cheese, cooked carrots and other foods low in fiber, and including foods that are high in fiber. Fruits and vegetables, especially if they are raw and unpeeled, are good choices. Iannelli points out that vegetables that are particularly high in fiber include beans especially baked, kidney, navy, pinto and lima beans, sweet potatoes, peas, turnip greens and raw tomatoes. Other foods that are good for children with constipation include vegetable soups (lots of fiber and added fluid), and popcorn. Extra bran can also be helpful, including bran cereals, bran muffins, shredded wheat, graham crackers, and whole wheat bread.

It can be helpful to learn to read nutrition labels to choose foods that are high in fiber, says Iannelli.  The usual recommendation is that children should have 5-6 grams of fiber plus their age in years each day. So a 4 year old should have 9-10 grams of fiber each day.

Canadian Dry Bean Outlook

For 2005-06, production and supply increased, due to a 23% rise in seeded area and lower abandonment. Production increased for white pea, pinto, black, dark and light red kidney, and cranberry beans, but remained stable for Great Northern, small red and pink beans. U.S. production increased by 52% to 1.18 Mt, while supply increased by only 26% to 1.32 Mt due to lower carry-in stocks. Canadian exports are forecast to increase due to higher supply. Carry-out stocks are expected to increase, but remain low. The average price, over all classes and grades, is forecast to decrease due to the higher U.S. and Canadian supply.
Source: Canadian Pulse and Special Crops Outlook Report,
December 9, 2005.

2002 vs 2005: Dry Bean Market Similarities?

by George Flaskerud, Crops Economist NDSU Extension Service

The 2005 navy and pinto bean crops were much larger than a year ago and the largest since 2002, according to a USDA report released Dec. 9. As a result, prices for both crops are sharply below year ago levels.  In early December, the North Dakota price was $18 per hundredweight (cwt) for navies (down 25%) and $14 per cwt for pinto beans (down 50%).

Navy bean production totaled 3.95 million cwt versus 5.39 million in 2002. Pinto bean production totaled 13.11 million cwt versus 13.19 million in 2002. For both crops, 2005 production was up appreciably from the past two years, especially from last year. The situation was similar for 2002 production relative to 2001 and 2000.

Given the similarities between 2002 and 2005 production, especially for pinto beans, an examination of 2002 marketing year prices may be worthwhile. The prices analyzed are monthly averages for North Dakota. The marketing year for navy and pinto beans begins in September.

Navy bean prices in 2002 averaged $23 per cwt during February and then declined to $12.40 by December. The price went on to establish a marketing year low in February 2003 of $9.52. By September, the price had recovered to $17.

The navy bean crop was quite a bit larger in 2002 (36%) than in 2005, so it is not so likely that the navy price will deteriorate from the $18 December price and could improve by spring, depending in large part on exports. At least the navy bean price has a better chance of improving than the pinto bean price.

Pinto bean prices in 2002 peaked at $30.70 per cwt during April and then declined to $13.90 by December. The price made a marketing year low in March 2003 of $12.30. By September, the price had recovered to $14.90. In 2005, the price peaked in February at a similar price of $30.30 and the December prices were nearly identical.

For pinto beans, the two years are close enough in production and price that further price weakness into 2006 cannot be ruled out. Furthermore, price recovery is likely to be much more anemic for pinto beans than for navies. Keep in mind that exports, acres and yields ultimately will determine what happens to prices in 2006.

Navy bean planted acres totaled 233,400 in 2005, up 26% from 2004 and up 48% from 2003. Pinto bean planted acres totaled 817,800 in 2005, also up 26% from 2004 and up 23% from 2003.

Very good yields were recorded for both crops in 2005. The navy bean yield was 1,784 pounds per acre versus 1,318 in 2004 and 1,666 in 2003. The pinto bean yield was 1,719 in 2005 versus 1,362 in 2004 and 1,635 in 2003.

From the USDA-ERS Briefing Room

The United States is the sixth-leading producer of dry edible beans, behind Brazil, India, China, Burma, and Mexico. During 2001-03, dry bean farm cash receipts averaged $446 millionninth among U.S. vegetables. Averaging 6.8 pounds per person during 2001-03, annual per capita use of dry beans was 11 percent lower than 1991-93 but 1 percent above 1981-83. North Dakota and Michigan account for nearly half of U.S. production.  This information is from the USDA Economic Research Service Bean Briefing Room online at (we suggest bookmarking it). 

The USDA-ERS Dry Bean Briefing Room includes analysis of supply, use, price, policy, and international trade.


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