“Winter beans offer much more than a break crop. Growers who are new to the crop, or are returning to it after a considerable time off, are finding out that there are compelling reasons for making them a regular part of the rotation.”
There are advantages of a winter sown bean crop over that of a spring grown crop to consider points out Agrii pulse variety manager, Peter Smith. “The last couple of springs have been very wet whereas we have had favourable autumns which means that bean crops have gone into good seed bed conditions and performed very well.”
“Even in last season’s severe weather conditions, where beans went in on heavier land with more body and got roots down, performance wasn’t too bad. Winter beans certainly fared better than other pulses.”
Mr Smith anticipates that prices will be reasonable this season. “We should be looking at £20-£25 over feed wheat and for clean and bruchid-free crops this could go up another £20, so in this situation that’s £40-£45 over wheat.”
Whilst beans may not always be the best paying crop on farm they offer significant benefits as part of the rotation particularly when following with a first wheat, adds George Hunter.
Winter beans can also offer growers the chance to get on top of grassweed problems and spread workloads due to flexible drilling dates for the crop. “Whilst the recommended drilling window is between mid Oct – early November, performance doesn’t really drop off until mid-December, and then it’s just a case of ensuring the agronomy is right the to support the crop such as using higher seed rates.”