Spring is the time to start planning winter wheat production. In Manitoba, winter wheat is best sown on stubble; canola provides the most desired stubble, however cereal crop stubble will also provide snow cover but an increased risk of disease will be present. Select an early maturing canola variety and sow early to allow the crop to be harvested in time to allow sowing of winter wheat by optimum date of September 15th.
Fababeans for Manitoba:
Introduction The fababeans / broadbean species (Vicia faba ssp.) is probably native to North Africa and the near East. German verities were brought into Manitoba in 1971 in the hope that fabas would provide an on-farm source of protein fro livestock. Over the next ten years, management practices were developed and the better production areas were identified, but acreage never reached 50,000 acres in the Prairies and has been at less than 12,000 cares over most of the last 20 years with an increases in its past couple of years with the introduction of zero tannin varieties suitable for livestock feed.
Adaption Fababeans grow best in cool moist conditions on the heavier soils. They don not tolerate salinity (optimal pH in the 6.5 to 7.5 range) or drought or extensive flooding or high temperature.
Varieties and Seeding Rates CDC Fatima - (500-550 grams/100 seeds) currently our most acceptable to food markets - plant 160-190 lbs./acre. Florent - New large seed variety; plant 170-200 lbs./acre. Higher yield.
Seeding Make sure your seeding equipment can handle the size of the seed you have. Threat the seed with inoculant (favas are the best nitrogen - fixing annual legume in the temperature of 5°C at planting depth between 2 and 4 inches) preferably not later than May 20th.
Fertility Nitrogen is not recommended unless residual is below 15-20 lbs. Phosphate is usually applied at a rate of about 25 lbs./acre, as well as sulfur and leaf diseases that affect other broad-leaved crops, so rotation should be similar. i.e. one legume or oilseed crop every 3 to 4 years. Use only disease-free or treated seed.
Weeds Check your crop rotation guide for registered products. Several products registered for other broadleaf crops by not for fababeans (due to small acreage) are widely used.
Insects By far the worst insect problems in fababeans is the tarnished plant bug or lygus bug. It is blamed for causing the black spots and perforations which cause down grading or to make the beans unacceptable to food buyers. While the "economic" threshold has not been determined (there is no yield loss), the loss of quality can lead to an income reduction of up to $100/acre on an average yield. Net sweeps every second or third day starting mid-July are recommended in several spots in the field: should the field look promising in other ways, spraying is likely worthwhile even if you only find one or two lygus per dozen sweeps. Fields should be monitored into the first week of August. Aphids are the other potential problem as they may carry the bean mosaic virus, which may cause premature death of the faba plant. Again, if there is an early infestation in July and the field looks good, a one-shot spray will provide low-cost control. In many cases in the past, an insecticide application for aphids appears to have controlled the lygus bug well, providing the insecticide used is effective against both insects. Occasionally, grasshoppers and blister beetles may need to be controlled. Swathing Fabas can be left standing until 40% of the pods are black or turning black (many leaves will have yellowed and fallen by then). However, since there is little maturing during September, they should be cut in the first week of September even if they are still green. There is less frost damage if the beans have had a change to "cure" in swath for a few days.
Harvest Fabas are dry at 15-16% moisture, but are often combined at higher moistures, then aerated/dried down to about 14% to prevent heating in storage.
Storage Usually fababeans have to be stored at least for awhile until buyers can assess overall quality and forward samples to potential customers. Fabas heat easily especially if there is high dockage. Also check bin tops in late winter/early spring before starting to load to ensure top layer is still in good condition.
World Production In the 1990's, global production has averaged about 3.5 million tonnes annually, with China accounting for little more than half the total. Egypt has been producing up to half a million tonnes. England grows about 2/3 of half million tonnes. Other relatively important countries have been Australia, Morocco, Turkey and other mid-Eastern areas. Our Canadian production is insignificant at 5 to 10 thousand tonnes. Recent trends have seen reductions in China, Egypt and Morocco, Turkey and several other Mediterranean areas, while Australia has doubled production in the last 2 years (to 300,000 tonnes this winter 2001-2002).
World Trade China's dominant position in the world market is seriously challenged by Australia and the UK in all the major bulk markets of the middle East and North Africa. Average annual trade is in the 250,000 - 300,000 tonnes range with Egypt accounting for around 80% of the imports.
Outlook and Conclusion Due to quality and freight considerations, Canada has had difficulty competing in the export markets with China, Australia and the UK. However a minimum production should be maintained to supply the small North American ethnic market and a few offshore countries which still buy in bags. Testing of new varieties is important to find lines more acceptable in both food and feed markets, including tannin-free types. Other avenues to explore might be contract production for specific customers abroad, more research into the snack food potential, etc. Finally, there is an "attitude" consideration. Despite averaging less than half a ton an acre Australians now seed over 500,000 acres of fababeans as a "break crop", replacing fallow. The income covers the cash cost, but the benefits show up in the next 2 crops as nitrogen fertilizer requirements are reduced, wheat protein is higher and soil cultivation is easier. In conclusion, fababeans are a viable option in the heavier soil zones with adequate moisture supply and a long enough season.
Grower Info: You can help us maximize your returns from fababeans by:
Monitoring the field for bugs, especially the lygus bug and spraying as required.
Bringing or sending in a representative sample as soon as the crop is in the bin. If the quality is decent, we like 5 to 10 lbs. If you have more than 1 field, or harvest a field at different times, we need samples of each.
Sampling early - if we don't know what we have, we can't sell it.