Spring bean yields have held up well this season – with growers reporting decent crops despite the driest summer since 1976.
Higher rainfall in early spring, low disease pressure, and earlier drilling windows after a mild winter helped many farmers during a year later dominated by extreme heat and summer drought conditions.
“Had there also been high disease pressure, it would have certainly compounded the issues already facing growers leading to much greater yield losses,” says Danny Richardson, combinable seed product specialist for the Wynnstay Group.
“That aside, it’s been a good year, particularly for those who drilled spring beans early. There’s a squeeze on soya right now which has helped increase demand for pulses, and the market for home grown protein is buoyant with good ex farm prices being paid.”
Of the newer varieties on the 2022 PGRO Descriptive list, Mr Richardson says Capri catches the eye as a high yielding, early maturing bean. It has a solid rust score, respectable thousand seed weight and excellent standing ability.
“It ticks the right boxes for both domestic and export markets and is definitely a variety that growers need to keep onside,” says Mr Richardson.
Boston-based first-time Capri grower Danny Anderson, of P&N Anderson and Son, says an early drilling window of 23-24 March proved to be the right strategy as his 14ha crop of Capri raced away during April, despite a dry spring and low moisture.
“We direct drilled this time to get the seed a little deeper into the soil, allowing it to find more moisture, then rolled immediately afterwards to lock in the moisture. The Capri established very evenly and there were no bare batches.
Mr Anderson sprayed a combination of Laser plus Toil to clear up some wild oats and post emergence weeds on 10 May. The crop then successfully grew away from any smaller emerging weeds, so it was a cautionary spray if anything, he says.
“Only one fungicide was applied post-flowering, primarily for rust and downy mildew control and we added some foliar feed to give the Capri a boost during the pre-longed dry spell. Overall the crop coped very well.”
An overall yield of 5t/ha was impressive when the Capri was cut on 29 August. “With more moisture I’ve no doubt we’d have been looking at an even higher yield,” says Mr Anderson. The potential is there for an even higher yield with slightly better weather.”