Corn, Soybeans Taking Michigan Dry Bean Acres

The number of US acres planted to dry beans remains uncertain. The US Department of Agriculture has projected growers will intend to plant 1.50 million dry bean acres this year, down 14 percent from last year. Acres are projected to be lower in 15 of the 18 dry bean producing states.

USDA projects Michigan's acres to be down five percent. In a interview with KNEB/Rural Radio Network, Michigan Bean Commission Executive Director Joe Cramer says that number was surprising as he believes acres will be down closer 20 -30 percent to as much as 50 percent based on seed sales and farmer attitudes, but it's hard to conflict with USDA numbers because their track record.

Like many states, corn and soybeans are the obvious beneficiaries of acres. Those main commodity crops are easier to grow and Cramer is also finding specialty crops like dry beans require some sort of added premium to offset the added risk. To make dry beans more attractive, the Michigan Dry Bean Commission is working on a risk management tool, like a dry bean revenue insurance product, but until a product is in place, Cramer says farmers will choose profitability.

But one thing farmers may not see is the available supply in the marketplace. In looking stocks Cramer says there is upward potential in the market. He says his view is probably more bullish than buyers in the market, because of what he is seeing with both planting intentions and available stocks.

But its hard to dispute USDA numbers as reports from USDA on acreage and available stock are generally considered the only official report for dry beans.

Michigan is the nation's second largest producing state for dry beans. Black beans represents about half of their annual production. Michigan is also known for growing navy, small red, light red, dark red, cranberry, pinto and white kidney beans.

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