Edible Bean School: Management takeaways from the 2022 crop


What did growers learn about growing edible beans in 2022?

Growers experienced much different conditions in the key growing regions, but overall the season was generally positive. In Manitoba, a good crop prevailed after a wet spring delayed planting. In many cases, growers experienced record yields. Further east, dry conditions stressed the Ontario crop but many patient growers who planted later in the spring managed to harvest average to above-average yields.

On this episode of the RealAgriculture Edible Bean School, we look back at last year and identify management insights that growers can apply as they move through the 2023 season.

Manitoba Agriculture pulse specialist Dennis Lange kicks off the episode with a look at how the crop in that province produced record-breaking yields, despite a late start resulting from one of the wettest springs growers can remember.

“Everything was delayed in Manitoba. The entire season was set back, it wasn’t a matter of that we started and quit, it was a matter of we couldn’t really get going. Once we did start to see dry bean acres planted, I think everybody expected a bit of a drop.”

There was certainly reduction in planted acres — down to 115,000 acres — but yields were a different story. Lange says the late-planted crop actually benefitted from being planted into warmer soil, which promoted fast emergence and early growth. “As the season progressed, we had good growing conditions over most of the growing region, and came up with some really fantastic yields, actually breaking records in most bean classes in Manitoba,” he notes. “The overall average was just over almost 2,300 pounds per acre. That was actually pretty amazing to see.”

Lange says it’s difficult to count on the weather co-operating and the stars aligning to create those optimum conditions again in 2023. “I guess what you can take out of this is keep in mind that dry beans do like warm soil when you’re planting.  That’s going to give them a better start.”

In the video, Lange shares his thoughts on two pests he says edible growers need to have on their radar for 2023.  He notes that Manitoba provincial weed specialist Kim Brown-Livingston has been watching a number of fields where waterhemp has been confirmed. Lange says growers need to keep an eye out for the weed, often misidentified as redroot, green, or smooth pigweed, and offers tips on how to scout for and identify the invader in their fields.

Lange also says growers need to be on the lookout for soybean cyst nematode (SCN). The pest has been confirmed at five locations in the province and he notes that managing soybean and edibles in the rotation will be key to ensuring the pest doesn’t gain a foothold in the edible bean crop. (Story continues after the video.)

Hensall Co-op origination manager Wade Bickell joins host Bernard Tobin for the second half of the video to share thoughts on what Ontario growers can glean from the 2022 season.

Bickell notes that the crop generally got off to a good start, but early-planted beans were hampered by cool temperatures and rains in late May. The season then turned dry, with some areas suffering significant drought stress. He adds that late-planted beans appeared to deliver the best performance, likely benefiting from an early August rain that boosted those later-planted edibles.

The drier weather did, however, help keep yield-robbing white mold at bay. Overall, edible beans seemed to handle the dry weather fairly well, says Bickell. Black beans averaged 2,705 lbs/ac. with Oxford County averaging 3,041 lbs/ac.; cranberry beans averaged 2,407 lbs/ac., about 96 per cent of the average Ontario yield; and white beans yielded 2,492 lbs/ac., 105 per cent of the average yield.

Like Lange, Bickell says there is no magic formula for success in 2023. Patience at planting is usually rewarded. Growers are also more likely to be successful when they plant edibles on their best ground where the crop can benefit from better water-holding capacity and good soil structure.

Bickell says probably the biggest watch out for 2023 is for growers to make sure they have a market for their crop. “Bigger yields in 2022 in all growing regions and lower demand for edible beans in general means there may not be interest in spec production in 2023.  We are a long ways from harvest but that’s the way it looks today.”

Click here for more Edible Bean School episodes.

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