Edible bean harvest challenged by loss of pre-harvest glyphosate

Canadian edible bean farmers are seeing first-hand what an abrupt loss of pre-harvest glyphosate means for their harvest. For many, it’s been a real challenge.

“So, for example, a black bean grower – black beans are typically pretty easy to harvest and you don’t have to worry about staining them because they’re already black, but you can still get off-colour ones and immature ones,” says RealAgriculture resident agronomist Peter Johnson in the following excerpt from Tuesday’s RealAg Radio.

Ontario black beans (Sandi Brock, 2019)

This year’s non-uniform fields are proving the most difficult, with immature green seed staining the harvest, and growers trying their best to avoid any green patches.

An alternative – just using Eragon, for example – looks like it does a super job, says Johnson, but it only burns the leaves, leaving the stems living, whereas, in a tank mix with glyphosate, the mix kills the entire plant.

“Lots of growers at this point are just really struggling because those stems are staying green.”

“It’s been just way tougher than we anticipated it might have been, and we’re learning how much positive benefit that pre-harvest glyphosate had in that scenario.”

Though Johnson says removing glyphosate as an options isn’t as big a deal in uniform crop, the risk of big downgrades may lead some growers back to the windrow.

“When you get hit with 16 per cent pick in black beans, boy that’s a hard core harsh hit to the pocket book, and really kind of a wake up call from that standpoint.”

At this point in Ontario, a killing frost could provide some relief in helping to kill those edible beans and any weeds they share the field with.

Johnson says temperatures have been cold enough to basically stop the corn crop, but haven’t killed the stems.

“This could drag on for a little bit.”

Editor’s note: Derwyn Hodgins, with Hensall Co-op says, “HC’s operations and HC quality assurance staff have stated the 2019 (black bean) crop is one of the best that we have ever received in terms of quality (low picks, ideal moistures, low CSC, good colour). Our reports also show our growers experienced some of the best BT yields they’ve have ever seen (18 to 40+ cwt/ac over a large acreage). Based on intake records, it’s hard to conclude Eragon (without glyphosate) has negatively affected yield and quality in ON, MB, MI, Min-Dak on 2019 Crop Black Beans.”  Hodgins says these numbers reflect deliveries from 80 different growers. 

RELATED: Glyphosate a no-go on dry beans this fall

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