Edible Bean School: Fine-tuning fertility for 2023

Hensall Co-op field marketer Meghan Scott

Edible beans are not huge consumers of fertilizer, but they will deliver better performance with a balanced fertility plan.

On this episode of the RealAgriculture Edible Bean School, Hensall Co-op field marketer Meghan Scott breaks down the components of that plan and offers tips on how growers can fine-tune fertility for the 2023 crop.

Overall, edible beans are generally divided into large-seeded (kidney and cranberry beans) and small-seeded (white beans, black beans and adzukis), but Scott says seed size has no real impact on fertilizer recommendations.

“First and foremost, every fertilizer recommendation should start with a soil test,” says Scott. “Typically growers apply their total needs as a broadcast in the spring. This is not the only way to apply but it is common. Other application methods could be safely done as a 2×2 band.”

Scott notes that dry beans are legumes and they do fix nitrogen, but applying nitrogen is recommended. Average application rates are in the 50 to 75 lb/ac actual nitrogen range. “Where we see the biggest benefit to application is in situations where dry beans may be susceptible to root rot,” she says. “Nitrogen can be included in your broadcast application, on its own as a liquid spray application, or may be included in a 2 x 2 band. We have seen great responses in dry beans using ESN as a nitrogen source.” (Story continues after the video.)

What about phosphorus and potassium? Scott says a 40 bu/ac dry bean crop will remove about 35 lb of phosphorus and 35 lb of potassium. “Applying potassium at the same time as your first fungicide application will have a synergistic effect on yield and we highly recommend it,” she notes.

Scott says growers also need to be mindful of micronutrient deficiencies, including manganese and zinc. “If you are aware a micronutrient deficiency exists within your soil but aren’t set up to apply a 2×2 fertilizer band, then it may be best to apply as a foliar application. There are lots of foliar products on the market that can supply adequate amounts of manganese, zinc or other micronutrients.” But there are watch-outs when using these products. Scott notes that export markets do not support the use of phosphites so it important to use phosphite-free products.

In the video, Scott also shares tips for farmers who use manure as a nutrient source and whether starter fertilizer will provide benefits for edible beans, which are generally planted into warm soils and optimal conditions.

Click here for more episodes of Edible Bean School.

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