2011 Edible Bean Summary

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Growing Season
  3. Harvest
  4. Pest Management Issues
  5. Pre-harvest Treatments
  6. Challenges in 2012

Technical information can also be obtained at the OMAFRA Field Crops Webpage and Crop Pest Ontario. Referenced OMAFRA Publications include the Agronomy Guide for Field Crops (Publication 811), the Field Crop Protection Guide (Publication 812), Guide to Weed Control (Publication 75), and Ontario Weeds (Publication 505). These can be obtained from your OMAFRA Resource Centre, or by calling 1-800-668-9938.


Edible bean yields were extremely variable in 2011. The growing season was characterized by hot, dry conditions in late June and July that severely limited vegetative growth. Rainfall in August spurred a flush of new growth that helped later planted and full season types make a nice recovery. Unfortunately the rainfall arrived too late to help early maturing bean types like cranberry beans which ranged in yield from 12-20 cwt/ac and the majority of seed size was small. Yield of all bean types was driven mostly by rainfall amounts and timing. White beans faired the best with the average yield at 2200 lb/ac from reports to Agricorp to date. This is surprisingly above the long term average of 1972 lb/ac. Kidney bean yields reported to date are slightly below the long term average of 1900 lb/ac. Azuki bean yields were above average, seed quality was excellent and seed size was more uniform than in 2010. Edible beans acreage declined in 2011 as growers were attracted to the strong prices offered for corn and soybeans. Seeded acreage dropped for all classes with white bean standing at 44,000 acres compared to 80,000 acres in 2010 and coloured bean acreage of approximately 44,000 in 2011, and 65,000 in 2010.

Growing Season

Wet May weather delayed planting with only 20% of the crop planted by June 7th. Tough soil conditions at planting resulted in uneven and reduced emergence, crusting and root rot issues. This was followed by an abrupt change in late June when hot, dry conditions set in that persisted though most of July. Unfortunately this severely impacted vegetative growth. Early maturing beans and cranberry beans that were flowering and setting pods during this period suffered the most. By the end of July the crop was only in fair condition with average or below yield prospects. Rainfall in August allowed beans to make a remarkable recovery. Full season and indeterminate bean types benefited the most with a new flush of growth, flowers and pods greatly boosting yield prospects.


Maturity was about 5-10 days later than normal. Harvest conditions were good during the first half of September. Yield of early harvested beans were disappointing ranging from 50 - 80% of normal. Frequent showers and wet soil conditions that followed in the second half of September through October delayed harvest of the majority of the crop. Yields of white and azuki beans were often better than other types. White bean seed quality was good with no anthracnose issues. Yields and quality deteriorated as harvest was delayed, but growers persisted and were encouraged to salvage as much crop as possible due to strong market demand and harvest prices. The yield and quality of large seeded coloured bean types were affected the most by the dry weather, with later plantings performing better.

Pest Management Issues

Disease pressure from white mould, anthracnose and blight were very low this year due to the dry summer weather. Western bean cutworm moth catches were high in southern counties, but little damage was found in dry bean fields. In a few fields, bean leaf beetles required control.

Pre-harvest Treatments

Growers adjusted to the new reality of recommended pre-harvest treatments and timings with mixed field results. The cool, wet fall slowed the speed of activity of glyphosate treatments. Some growers that pull beans abandoned using pre-harvest treatments. A new pre-harvest treatment research project will hopefully provide growers with new options for 2012.

Challenges in 2012

Strong future prices for corn and soybeans are creating real headwinds in attracting increased acreage for many edible bean types in Ontario and other North American production regions. Tough planting conditions, soil crusting, and root rot this season were a reminder that good soil structure is the most important factor in growing a good edible bean crop that is less vulnerable to weather stress. Fusarium root rot has a wide host range and is one of the most important diseases in edibles beans for which little progress in management has been made. The most successful approach has been longer rotations and improving soil structure with legumes, cover crops, and plowdowns. Edible beans often follow corn, which limits opportunities for plowdowns. Research with interseeding into corn has shown some success. More on farm testing to make the practice work needs to be done.

Ontario developed white bean varieties have enjoyed good success and have been widely adopted. Ontario developed coloured bean lines have not been as widely adopted. Growers, government and seed companies place high priority and invest heavily in Ontario germplasm and variety development. Growers, agronomists and dealers need to embrace increased on-farm variety comparisons of new white and coloured bean varieties if the industry is to remain competitive with other commodities and other dry bean growing regions. The Ontario Coloured Bean Growers is working with dealers to move Ontario varieties to market quicker, so growers and end users will be able to evaluate these varieties for agronomics and quality.

For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca