What are dry beans?
Dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) cultivated types are herbaceous annuals, determinate or indeterminate in growth habit, which bear flowers in axillary and terminal racemes. Flowers are normally self fertilized, developing into a straight or slightly curved pod. Seeds may be round, elliptical, somewhat flattened, or rounded-elongated in shape and have a rich assortment of coat colours and patterns. Seeds of varieties produced in Alberta range in size from 170-400 gm per 1000 seeds.
- determinate types have a central main stem with five to nine nodes and from two or more branches that arise from the more basal nodes
- indeterminate types have a main stem with 12 to 15 nodes, or even more in climbing vine types
- germination is epigeal and requires approximately 7 days at a soil temperature of 16˚ C
- days-to-flower varies with variety, temperature and photo period and can take up to 50 days
- physiological maturity will occur approximately 105–115 days from planting in southern Alberta
Where do dry beans grow?
The most profitable pulse crop in Alberta, dry beans are grown across the southern part of the province and exported to areas like the United States, South America, and the United Kingdom. In 2011, Alberta’s pulse growers grew 34,000 metric tonnes of dry beans on 43,000 acres — the second highest production of dry beans in Canada. Lower input costs and steady demand for this crop makes dry beans a good fit for crop producers in Southern Alberta.
Will dry beans fit in my crop rotation?
Consider growing dry beans if…
- You live in Southern Alberta and produce crops under irrigation.
- You live in an area that receives 1,900 corn heat units or more during the growing season.
- Your soil is medium-textured — for instance, light loams, sandy loams, or silt loams.
- Your fields have good drainage and low salinity.
- You’re interested in marketing flexibility, with several commercial buyers located in your area.
With several bean varieties to choose from, including varieties of pinto, pink, red, Great Northern, and black beans, dry beans could be a good fit in your crop rotation. For more information on the varieties of pulse crops in Alberta, please see Alberta Agriculture’s Varieties of Pulse Crops for Alberta.