Edible Bean School: Prepping the planter for edible beans

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Many edible bean growers target the first week of June as the optimal planting window for the range of bean types that make up the category.

On this episode of the RealAgriculture Edible Bean School, Hensall Co-op field marketer and edible bean grower Dave Louwagie shares tips on prepping the seedbed and the planter for a successful start to the growing season.

At the top of Louwagie’s tip list is the need to plant into a clean field. He notes that there are fewer herbicide options for edible beans than what is available for some other crops. He also stresses that growers need to make sure their last tillage pass is in the same direction as planting.  This will minimize row unit vibration, which causes seed tumbling and affects seed spacing.

Then there’s that first week of June planting date target and the need to put the seed into warm soil whenever possible. “Ideally you want to see the beans twice in the same week – once when putting the seed into the hoppers and then when they emerge. If this occurs, the beans get off to a great and aggressive start,” says Louwagie.

It’s also critical to avoid planting when heavy rain or thunderstorms are forecasted. “Edible beans tend to be a little weaker to emerge. You are better off delaying planting than planting to beat heavy rain,” he says. It’s better to be patient rather than re-planting.

But before growers roll into the field they need to make sure the planter is prepped for success. In the video, Louwagie travels around his eight-row John Deere unit in his shop at Mitchell, Ont. His checklist starts with ensuring correct toolbar height and inspection of the row cleaners, disk openers, gauge wheels and seed tubes. (Story continues after the video.)

The planter check continues with inspection of the seed firmers, closing wheels, tire inflation, transmission drives and seed units. It’s then time to climb in the cab and complete planter health checks.

Louwagie has one final piece of advice before growers put that first seed in the ground. “Always get out of the tractor seat and check the machine when you start planting. Don’t rely on the monitors to tell you everything.  You only have one chance to do it right the first time. You can’t fix it after the seed is in the ground.”

Click here for more Edible Bean School videos.

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