Faba beans seem to grow forever. They don’t, but their days to maturity are about five days longer than most varieties of wheat, so it feels like forever when you are trying to get harvest started.
This is why it’s important to know what to look for, and then what to do, when it comes to harvest management of faba beans. In this episode of the Pulse School, RealAgriculture’s Dale Leftwich talks to Sherrilyn Phelps, agronomy manager with SaskPulse, about faba bean harvesting strategies. (story continues after video)
Phelps says swathing is risky because, “It’s a fairly thin stand in terms of the stems that are present. When you swath them they tend to fall closer to the ground and there’s not much stubble to hold them in place.”
This leads to two potential problems. The swaths could blow away, or conversely, fall through the stubble onto the ground, and then be hard to pick up with the combine. Another problem with a swath, Phelps says, is that if “the swath’s on the ground and if they do get wet, due to rain, they are harder to get to dry back out.”
Because faba beans have a long growth cycle, desiccating and the timing of desiccation become very important considerations. Phelps has some advice for you as you scout your crop. “You want to apply a desiccant when the seeds are at an average for the whole field of 30 per-cent moisture content. That is when they are physiologically mature.”
Phelps goes on to explain the signs you need to look for. “When 75 to80 per cent have turned colour. you may see a little bit of green at the very top pod, but the majority of the pods have started to, or have fully turned. And the pods at the top have seeds that are fully formed and are very firm so that no juice comes out of them when you are squishing them.”
For more information check out the SaskPulse website.