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Early Minnesota, N.D. Dry Bean Harvest a Mixed Bag
Minnesota Ag Connection - 09/24/2021

The edible bean market is poised for below average production, judging by the prices, which still are strong as farmers begin their harvest, said Tim Courneya, Northarvest Bean Growers executive vice president.

The association is headquartered in Fargo and serves farmers across Minnesota and North Dakota.

"They aren't backing off," he said. "We planted enough beans to be a little more bearish but the markets are bulled up."

A few elevator Courneya called in early September were offering prices for navy beans that were in the high $30s per hundredweight and one had a price of $41 per hundredweight.

Curt Kirking, customer relations manager for Kelley Bean in Cavalier, N.D., which accepts pintos, navies and black turtle and pink edible beans, is advising farmers to kill the vines.

In the trade area, farmers have shown Kirking fields in which 80% of the beans are ripe, while the fields' headlands are green.

It's unlikely that during the next three weeks there will be enough heat units to spur enough growth in the beans to increase them to a size that makes them worthwhile to harvest, he said.

"Kill them and put them out of their misery," Kirking said.

However, many of the early-harvested edible beans delivered to elevators will fill farmers' contracts and won't be sold on the open market, Courneya obseerved.

"The open markets are substantially stronger than the contracts." he said

For example, pinto bean contracts, offered early in the year were $26 per hundredweight, then climbed to $32 per hundredweight.

The contract prices gained momentum because they were buoyed by the corn and soybean markets. Farmers are hopeful that 2022 edible bean contracts will offer good prices because the industry will need to compete with corn and soybeans for acreage, Courneya said.

Both Courneya and Kirking shared their Minnesota and North Dakota oberations with AgWeek recently at https://bit.ly/3u6DAkl.


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