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Field Beans Survey

Field beans are well-suited to the Irish climate. The 2020 growing season varied considerably across Ireland. Given the weather conditions in 2020 Teagasc are interested in capturing farmer actions to help us understand where farmer actions may affect yield variability.

Field beans have a relatively high yield potential, and can deliver a potential margin comparable to winter cereals. Winter Beans have the potential to yield between 6 and 8 tonnes per hectare, and 4.5 - 7.5 t/ha for spring varieties. However, despite support from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in the form of a protein payment, the area of beans sown in Ireland remains small.

The 2020 growing season varied considerably across Ireland with growers experiencing conditions from drought in the midlands, to excellent growing conditions in the south, higher than normal disease in many parts, to storm damage in exposed areas, and a somewhat delayed harvest. 

Capturing farmer actions in light of these challenges is extremely valuable to help understand where farmer actions may affect yield variability. Teagasc is encouraging growers to complete a short online survey in order to capture growers’ experiences and actions which may have had an effect on crop growth and development.

The survey will deliver an increased understanding of factors influencing returned yields and support on-going research at Teagasc Oak Park. This will in turn assist in the design of improved management regimes for field beans in Ireland in order to support the growth of the domestic market for beans.

Irish grown beans is as an indigenous traceable source of protein in animal feed rations that can displace imported proteins and ensure the traceability credentials of Irish food exports. Indeed, nutritionally beans compete favourably with import sources, with the protein and energy characteristics of field beans comparable to maize distillers meal, and at an appropriate price differential competing favourably with soya.”

Further benefits include acting as an excellent break crop in cereal rotations, with lower nitrogen requirements in succeeding crops due to the natural ability of beans to fix Nitrogen. Considering the Farm to Fork goal of reducing Nitrogen inputs, the role of field beans in rotation will become more critical in the years ahead.

If you require further information on our on-going field bean research please contact Sheila.alves@teagasc.ie