Depending on where you grow, the edible bean story of 2021 has varied across the country.
Growers in Eastern Canada benefited from excellent growing conditions that produced above average yields in most classes. The story in Western Canada, however, was very different, as growers endured a tough, dry year that produced below-average crops.
In this episode of RealAgriculture’s Edible Bean School, we look back on the 2021 season for management insights and tips growers can bring to the field this spring.
In the east, Wade Bickell, Hensall Co-op’s origination manager, says every class except adzuki beans (97% of the average) produced an above-average crop — beans cranberries produced 2,950 lbs/acre. (124% of average) while white beans reached 2,599 lbs/ac (113% of average).
Bickell says the weather played a key role in the success of 2021. Growers took advantage of spring conditions and planted early in dry, warm soils. The ideal early weather produced fast-growing, vigorous crops that showed high potential for white mold when conditions turned wet in late June and rain continued into July.
Bickell tips his hat to growers who saw the crop’s yield potential and were proactive with fungicide applications to control white mold before it could take hold in their fields. His main takeaway from 2022 is to be prepared and take advantage of the opportunities. “If we’re looking at warm, moist soils in a good forecast, put the seed in the ground and get it to sprout and start.” he advises.
Out west, Manitoba Agriculture pulse specialist Dennis Lange reports a huge range of yields, depending on moisture availability and drought stress. Overall, Manitoba was very dry. In wet areas, growers harvested crops that yielded 1,600 to 1,700 lbs/acre, but in stressed areas, harvests dropped to 500 to 600 lbs/acre. (The story continues after the video.)
Preliminary estimates from Manitoba Agriculture put the average for all bean types at just over 1,200 lbs/ac, well below the 1,700 lbs/ac average. “But given the drought, I think the growers are just happy to put this one on the books and move on to next year,” Lange says.
In the video, Lange offers his assessment of a strange phenomenon that occurred in some edible bean fields in 2021. In these fields, growers saw late-season moisture after drought stress lead to a second cycle of flowering and regrowth of already mature beans. pods. He says the highly unusual growing conditions were the main factor behind the regrowth and unless 2022 repeats the same conditions, a repeat performance is highly unlikely.
Looking ahead to 2022, Lange notes that growers in the bean-growing region may be able to take advantage of high residual nitrate levels by planting in oats or wheat. If the fields have 90-100 lbs of residual nitrogen in those soils, dry beans would be fine. However, he adds that maintaining rotations is important and changing rotations just to take advantage of fertility could create long-term challenges.
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