Supplies of green beans are steady though they are building as domestic production gets going.
Supplies of green beans are coming out of Mexico and Florida.
Currently, Tony Martinez of Primo Trading Services LLC in McAllen, TX notes that Primo is receiving supplies out of Mexico where the Gulf and Pacific regions are harvesting. At the same time, Florida has begun production as well. “Supplies are light out of Florida so far but they’re expected to build,” says Martinez. “Weather will be an issue with Florida though because these last two cold fronts have really slowed the growth process and/or affected some acreage. This week’s cold front is also expected to be a strong one so it’s up in the air as to what’s going to happen with supplies there.”
As a row crop, beans of course are susceptible to cold weather since there’s a lack of protective foliage or coverage.
Many growers planted less green bean acreage this harvest cycle due to uncertainties over COVID-19.
Meanwhile in Mexico, Martinez notes that plantings are down largely due to COVID-19. Many growers, including Primo, planted less this harvest cycle since there are still many uncertainties around how long COVID-19 will continue impacting the industry, says Martinez. “This is the case on all vegetable and most row crops,” he says. He notes that this year Primo opted out of planting beans in Texas. “Our yields are so much less in Texas and it’s the cost of growing there versus growing in Mexico,” he says. “You have to machine harvest green beans but your yields are horrible compared to hand harvesting.” And hand harvesting in Texas isn’t as economically feasible as it is in Mexico. “So, we increased our onion and watermelon acreage in Texas and do green beans in Mexico this year,” he adds.
At the same time, demand on beans is stable year-round for the vegetable. “They’re a niche commodity and most of it is grown for packaging—not as much bulk and it’s not as commercial as other commodities,” says Martinez.
Primo opted out of planting beans in Texas this year and instead increased its watermelon and onion acreage in the state.
All of this means pricing is currently at about $22-$24.
Looking ahead, Central Texas should begin harvesting its crops April 15th. “Then you’ll see a window from April 15th-June 15th where the market is going to drop to the $16 – $18 FOB Texas range and after June 15th, will pickup to below $20,” he says, adding that the market usually rises June 15th onwards due to increased temperatures in the U.S. and the domestic crops winding down leaving Mexico as the primary growing region.