Pulse weekly outlook: U.S. beans seen on rise for 2019

CNS Canada –– The acreage shift that played out between chickpeas and dry edible beans this year will shift again next year, Brian Clancey of marketing agency Stat Publishing predicts.

Several factors lead him to that conclusion, he said. Canadian growers ship large numbers of beans and chickpeas to the U.S., and the production and seeded-acreage numbers south of the border can greatly affect Canadian farmer prices and next year’s seeding intentions.

Chickpea production has historically been low in the U.S., he said, but this year chickpea became the most important category included in the dry bean production estimates issued by the U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this month.

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That means USDA’s forecast for a 1.71 million-tonne harvest of dry edible beans and chickpeas is actually about 1.2 million tonnes, down from 1.36 million last year, once chickpeas are removed from the calculations, Clancey said.

Meanwhile, edible bean inventories are also on the rise, and currently sit at about 366,000 tonnes, he said.

“So if you think about that, if inventory is rising, that in and of itself would be a disincentive to grow beans. But the fact that when they (farmers) were making seeding decisions, chickpeas were at record-high levels for price, grower prices, it attracted a lot of farmers.”

However, since then, chickpeas have taken farmers on a roller-coaster ride posting record-high and historiclow prices, which Clancey thinks will discourage chickpea production for the growing season ahead.

“That will discourage chickpea production next year, so I expect quite a drop in chickpea area in 2019,” he said.

“It creates lots of potential that dry edible bean area will go up next year.”

Canada exports almost of its edible crop, he said, with little carryover to worry about.

USDA will break out chickpeas in a separate category in its December harvest breakdown, Clancey said.

Statistics Canada, in its September estimates, reported dry bean production at 345,300 tonnes, an increase of 7.1 per cent over 2017, which follows a 32 per cent increase in 2017 tonnage over 2016 (322,400 tonnes, up from 244,300 tonnes).

— Terry Fries writes for Commodity News Service Canada, a Glacier FarmMedia company specializing in grain and commodity market reporting.

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