Beans (Vicia faba.) Establishment
Why am I growing, field beans?
The reasons are many and varied but like all crops, yield and quality are essential parts of profitability and generating profit is part of your business.
According to ADAS, who coordinate the Bean Yield Enhancement Network (YEN) four out of the 42 field data results for 2021 exceeded 7.0 t/ha. Good this may be, yet it is still short of what is suggested as a theoretical potential of 10.0 – 12.0 t/ha.
What happens to yield in less than optimum conditions?
Well again, according to published figures (YEN) which has captured detailed information on 92 crops over a three year period, crop yields ranged from 3.6 to 6.6 t/ha when winter sown and 1.8 to 7.2 t/ha when spring sown.
Yield is a component of seed weight and seed numbers per m2. Therefore we need sufficient stems /m2 to carry the right number of pods to provide the seed numbers and weight. How many stems per plant and how many plants per m2?
Seed rates of 170, 240, 338 and 440 kg may be used in to affect this resulting in an initial theoretical cost of £110.0 – £286.00 /ha.
Minimum variety purity on seed lots is very high but not many realise that the minimum germination is 80% and when supply is short, 70%. Add in overwinter survival to your seed rate calculation and then any consideration for variety and getting the optimum plant population per m2 seems less assured.
Of course we have not, as yet, considered your soil texture, drainage, colour of equipment used for planting, drilling date a few crows and the odd slug!