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Dry Beans

Alberta dry bean is sold in dry packaged form for human consumption. Bean is an excellent source of protein (22-23 per cent), is low in fat and is a good source of thiamine and niacin. Bean is low in riboflavin and vitamins A, C and B12. Dry bean, like most other annual legumes, is low in amino acids methionine, tryptophan and cystine.

Several commercial types of dry bean are grown in Alberta, but production is greatly influenced by adaptability to a particular region and market demand. The majority of commercial production falls into five types: Pinto, Pink, Red Mexican, Great Northern and Black (Navy bean is also produced, but on a relatively small acreage).

Dry bean types can also be grouped according to plant growth habit. The types grown in Alberta are either determinate bush or indeterminate vining. The most widely grown in Alberta are indeterminate vining types.


  • in Alberta, pinto accounts for approximately 38 per cent of the acreage
  • pinto is easier to produce than other types as seeds are not as prone to cracking, and seeds germinate and emerge rapidly
  • seedlings tend to be strong and vigorous, and seed quality is not affected as much by adverse weather conditions (compared to other types)


  • approximately 14 per cent of Alberta’s dry bean production
  • generally higher yielding than other types of bean
  • has smallest seed size of the coloured types varieties grown in Alberta
  • usually have a somewhat bushy and relatively erect plant habit

Red Mexican

  • accounts for approximately 7 per cent of Alberta’s production
  • also called “Small Red”
  • an indeterminate and semi-vining type, more upright than pinto bean

Great Northern

  • accounts for approximately 40 per cent of Alberta’s production
  • also called “Large White”
  • one of the oldest dry bean types grown in western North America
  • newer varieties are erect and indeterminate

Black and Navy

  • account for the balance of Alberta’s production


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