Edible Bean School: Learning from a good 2023 crop

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2023 was a roller coaster for edible bean growers in Canada’s two biggest growing regions.

After record-breaking yields in 2022, Manitoba endured some dry summer growing conditions to produce a good crop with most growers harvesting above-average yields, reports Manitoba Ag pulse and soybean specialist Dennis Lange.

In Ontario, the crop emerged well despite dry spring conditions and then waded through heavy summer rains to produce some of the best yields ever seen in the province, says Meghan Moran, edible bean specialist for the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.”We had nice weather through harvest season, September and October, and really high yields, which really speaks to the varieties that we’re growing and the experience and knowledge of our producers and agronomists.”

On this episode RealAgriculture’s Edible Bean School, host Bernard Tobin is joined by both Lange and Moran to look back at 2023 and share insights for the coming growing season.

Lange’s first takeaway for growers is to fine-tune planting depth in the event of a dry Manitoba seedbed this spring. He says growers often want to plant dry beans two inches or deeper, but they don’t grow like field peas, which can push from a depth of two to three inches. As a general rule, he recommends growers go as deep as they need to for moisture and try to plant no deeper than one and three-quarter inches. He adds that growers will have some wiggle room depending on planting date, soil temperatures and pace of planting. (Story continues after the video.)

Lange says that yield and quality of the 2023 crop will likely drive edible acres higher in 2024. In this case, he reminds new and experienced growers to take a close look at their rotation when building their cropping plan.

“You really need to look at what you planted two years ago. In this case, I’m talking about soybeans. So if you had soybeans year one, wheat in year two, and are now going back to dry beans, that is not something I would recommend,” says Lange. “You would end up with a possibility of volunteer soybeans in your dry beans. That means they could also end up in the harvest sample. Because soybeans are considered a food allergen in the dry bean business that could cause the product to be rejected at harvest.”

Moran looks back at how edibles managed through the wet 2023 conditions and discusses whether adding more in-season nitrogen helps contend with soggy fields. “I think it’s safe to say that this year, the vast majority of producers did not add nitrogen after that scenario and we had really exceptional yields.” She adds that there’s no research data that says there’s value in adding more nitrogen.

In the video, Moran discusses why adzuki beans were a big story in 2023. See notes that growers reported tremendous yields, but bacterial brown spot did present challenges in some fields. She also shares why it’s important for growers to think about soil organic matter and how it helps the edible bean crop manage both wet and dry weather extremes.

Click here for more Edible Bean School videos.

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