Beans

Field beans (vicia faba) are a widely grown break crop across the UK on around 170,000 ha. 

See the PGRO Online Pulse Agronomy Guide for useful info on growing field beans.

Field beans (Vicia faba) are used for inclusion in animal feed, aquaculture, export for human consumption and for pigeon feed. Suitable winter and spring varieties are available for these uses.

Beans provide a useful break to reduce cereal pests and diseases and an opportunity to control grass weeds in an arable rotation. In wet years and on heavy soils, beans perform better than peas. Beans also suffer less from pigeon damage, they are easier to combine, and growing costs can sometimes be lower.

Beans, however, are harvested later than peas, and time of harvest is very dependent on seasonal weather in the August/September period.

Winter beans do not have a vernalisation requirement, although they are more winter hardy than spring types. In moisture-retentive and fertile fields that produce tall, lush crops short-strawed varieties could be an asset. Ascochyta is most likely to be a problem in wet conditions and varieties with good resistance are available.

Beans are classified as winter and spring beans and are further classified by pale or black hilum colour or tic. Some pale hilum type have low levels of anti-nutritinal compound Vicine and Convicine (LVC types).

  • Winter beans are generally large-seeded with a thousand seed weight normally above 530 grams. Spring varieties are generally smaller seeded. Tic bean varieties have small, rounded seeds, which may be suitable for the pigeon trade.
     
  • Pale hilum spring beans for export for human consumption and small-seeded beans for the pigeon trade attract a premium.
     
  • Downy mildew can cause yield loss in some seasons, but varieties with good resistance are available. Early maturing spring beans can mature before winter beans.
     
  • Early maturing beans have enabled the crop to be grown in Northern Britain.

Quality standards for export to the Middle East for human consumption are high. Varieties with a smooth and pale skin and pale hilum are suitable for this market. It is important that samples are clean, sound and have low levels of bruchid beetle damage.

 

 

Related Organisations

Content below is from across the PEP community and is not necessarily endorsed by Stewards or by PEP

Connected Content

A combination of sustainability, health & animal welfare concerns are pushing a shift away from meat in our diets to alternative proteins.

Pulses are leguminous crops harvested for dry protein-rich seed, with peas (pisum sativum) and beans (vicia faba) being the major crops in the UK.

The major commodity crops in the UK are wheat, barley, oilseed rape, field beans, sugar beet and potatoes, but around half of agricultural land grows grass.   

Diseases infect susceptible plant hosts, where environmental conditions favor disease development. Infected crops achieve lower yields and the quality of the produce can also be affected.

Bruchus rufimanus is a widespread pest of beans. Adults are 3.5 - 4.5 mm long, squat shaped, black or dark-bown with small grey flecks

Some symbiotic or free-living microorganisms can fix inert di-nitrogen (N) from the air into reactive organic nitrogenous compounds.  Most biological N fixation (BNF) in farming systems occurs in the root nodules of legumes where rhizobium bacteria take photosynthates from the plant in exchange for fixing atmospheric N and returning ammonium or amides which the plant uses to form amino acids, proteins, etc.   Plants need more N than any other nutrient and N commonly limits plant growth in many ecosystems. 

The pea and bean weevil adults cause characteristic leaf notching around the leaf margins. The larvae can cause significant damage to the nitrogen-fixing root nodules. 

Legume is the commonly used name for the family of flowering plants, Fabaceae. Any plant in the Fabaceae family that has leaves, stems and pods are referred to as a Legume.

PULSES, GRAINS, FLOUR & MORE FROM BRITISH FARMS

As the UK's centre of excellence for peas and beans, the PGRO has a long and highly valued track record of providing authoritative, up to date information and project work based on solid, reliable research.

Plant breeding is the science of adapting the genetics of plants to produce more desirable characteristics, in agriculture these typically include improved yield, in-field performance and end use quality.

The Claydon Opti-Till® System, is a holistic approach to crop establishment which delivers consistent, high yielding crops at low cost, providing maximum profitability. At the centre of Opti-Till® Seed Drilling System is the Claydon direct strip Hybrid drill, with its unique leading tine technology.

Peas (pisum sativum) are grown either for combining dry seed (combining peas) or harvesting fresh as a vegetable or for freezing (vining peas).

PGRO have conducted trials testing a range of biostimulants on spring beans, vining peas and combining peas in seasons from 2018 to 2021.

Following the TRUE and LegValue EU projects this LinkedIn group with over 100 members continues to share resources for those interested in legume crops,

Innovative Farmers, as part of their involvement in the Horizon Europe LEGUMINOSE project we will be setting up trials with Reading University to look at the benefits of intercropping in arable rotations.

It’s worth reflecting on why we export most of the pulse crop we produce in the UK, or simply fee

This Topic doesn't yet have a Stewarded summary, but connected groups, content and organisations show below. Click the 'Ask to Join' button if you would like to be a Steward for this Topic and provide a summary of current knowledge and recommend useful resources, organisations, networks and projects. "Like" this Topic if you would like to see it prioritised for providing a wikipedia style summary.

Understanding and improving bean yields by sharing measures and ideas  

This Topic doesn't yet have a Stewarded summary, but connected groups, content and organisations show below. Click the 'Ask to Join' button if you would like to be a Steward for this Topic and provide a summary of current knowledge and recommend useful resources, organisations, networks and projects. "Like" this Topic if you would like to see it prioritised for providing a wikipedia style summary.   Branston are creating a potato derived protein product.

At present, we are leaders in the spring field bean market, including varieties such as Lynx, Vertigo, Fanfare and newer varieties including Yukon, Macho and Victus. We also have competitive oilseed rape varieties, for example Clubroot resistant varieties Crome and Croozer, HEAR OSR varieties including Resort and Ergo, all of which help the UK farmer to maximise their yield.  

Scientia potentia est: knowledge is power. But understanding empowers. The purpose of the Legume Hub is to empower all interested in the development of legume crop production and use by providing access to validated knowledge. It is a platform dedicated to sharing knowledge and successful practices across value chains, from plant breeding, on-farm activities, through to processing and consumption.

The YEN programme has highlighted factors not previously recognised as important for achieving go

Write whatever you want here - this is the main section. You can add links, add pictures and embed videos. To paste text from elsewhere use CTRL+Shift+V to paste without formatting. Add videos by selecting 'Full HTML' below, copying the 'embed html' from the source page (eg Youtube), clicking 'Source' above and pasting where you want the video to appear.
You can upload an image here. It can be jpg, jpeg, gif or png format.
Upload requirements

You can upload a file here, such as a pdf report, or MS Office documents, Excel spreadsheet or Powerpoint Slides.

Upload requirements
Authors Order
Add Authors here - you can only add them if they already exist on PEP. Just start writing their name then select to add it. To add multiple authors click the 'Add another item' button below.