Red Kidney Beans are now a part of the coop program at BEL- CAR along with corn and blackeye peas. That means the farmers who grow RK’s receive equitable payments based on the prices BEL-CAR receives when they sell them.
That will take care of the problems that arise when price fluctuations due to supply/demand variances in the market place result in different prices paid to farmers whose harvests and deliveries vary during the season.
Blackeye peas are graded according to their quality which is determined by detailed export standards, including appearance (color, spots/markings caused by insects), moisture, and presence of non-BE beans, splits or foreign material, e.g., stones. Weather can adversely affect bean quality. For example, weather that is too dry during the growing season causes BE’s to have a yellowish color; however, BE’s should be harvested in dry weather (no rain the previous 2 weeks) to maximize quality. Spotting also comes from weather conditions; but weather is not the only factor affecting quality.
Farmers have to be careful for pre-harvest fungus and insect damage, which can mean brown spots on the beans, as well as post-harvest storage where beans can develop fungus or insects can bore holes in the beans. Beans in storage usually have to be treated regularly for insects. However, the better the storage facility the higher the bean quality.
This season’s BE’s in Spanish Lookout were adversely affected by the weather for the most part. For some period of harvest time it rained every 2 weeks – just as the farmers were tryingto harvest their BE’s. The farmers had a 30 – 40% loss of high quality this season.
The selling price is determined by the buyer’s quality criteria. For example, beans sold to canneries do not have to be the highest quality in appearance; scars on beans are not noticeable in a can ofbeans. The European and Middle-Eastern buyers demand only the highest quality and have their own standards. BEL-CAR sends sample of beans to buyers prior to sales and export. The price is determined from the buyer’s quality standards and BEL-CAR’s sample.
BEL-CAR has a lab where they can check for moisture and other quality factors. The picture shows one half of a blackeye bean under the microscope. The formation of the bean sprout is already noticeable. The blackeye bean is not as hard as other beans; it is the only bean that can be cooked without having to soak it prior to cooking for best results.
BEL-CAR buys its seed from the US, mostly from companies in Texas and California.