2009 Edible Bean Summary

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Planting
  3. Growing Season
  4. Harvest
  5. Production Challenges for 2010

Technical information can 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 2009. Yields and quality of early harvested beans was often excellent, ranging from 18 - 28 cwt/ac. Hopes of a above average crop vanished as wet, cold conditions set in after mid September. Harvest of the majority of edible beans proceeded at a snails pace. Yields and quality gradually deteriorated, with widely ranging yields 10 - 17 cwt/ac. Despite the wet fall, seed colour held up surprisingly well. Acreage of white beans was 50,000; down significantly from 2008, due to strong soybean prices with excellent IP premiums.


Good soil conditions allowed for 50-75% of the crop to be planted on time. Rains in early to mid June halted planting progress, with the remaining acres planted by the end of June. Heavy rainfall following planting resulted in uneven emergence, crusting and early season root rots in some areas. Very little replanting was required. Beans planted into later June took advantage of the excellent soil conditions producing even stands.

Growing Season

Edible bean plant growth was below average through mid July due to cooler and drier than normal conditions. Timely rainfall in later July - August produced a flush of growth, with excellent flowering and pod set. Many areas received excessive rainfall in August, providing the perfect storm for white mould. Lush canopies, frequent showers and/or heavy dews allowed white mould and anthracnose (in white beans) to develop and spread quickly. Control of white mould with fungicides was very difficult under this scenario. Growers that scouted fields and sprayed early for anthracnose were rewarded with excellent control. Insect pressure was low in most areas. Bean cutworms were active in 2009, but no damage was reported in edible beans in Ontario. Bean common mosaic virus was a problem in some Otebo bean fields. Most other bean types have resistance to this disease.


Harvest got off to a good start with excellent yields and quality reported on cranberry and other early harvested bean types. However wet weather set in mid September just as much of the crop was ready to be harvested. The 2009 harvest season was the wettest and cloudiest in recent memory. Quality of late harvested beans was often much better than expected. Yields deteriorated due to plant breakdown and a high incidence of pod drop on plants infected with white mould. Growers did an amazing job of harvesting the crop through tough conditions, with an estimated 5-10% of crop not harvested.

Production Challenges for 2010

Increased Acreage

2009 was a reminder of the higher risk in edible beans for growers. A strong IP soybean industry will continue to challenge acreage of edible beans. Dry bean buyers are keenly aware of this competition, which should be positive for pricing opportunities. The wet fall weather significantly reduced winter wheat acreage. Growing edible beans offers a number of benefits including, early planting of winter wheat, diversifying crops, crop rotation, and spreading labour and machinery workload.

Insect and Disease Pests

2009 will be remembered as another perfect storm for white mould, when control was often disappointing. Frequent showers, heavy dews, cool temperatures during flowering and pod fill provided the perfect white mould environment. 2010 should be exciting year with opportunity to evaluate new fungicide products for white mould including Switch (Syngenta), Allegro (Syngenta), Serenade (UAP), Contans WG (PlantProducts).

Growers will have a new pest; the western bean cutworm to scout for in edible bean and corn fields, Michigan reported 4 counties that were advised to spray bean fields for cutworm damage this year. Bean cutworms are here to stay, and early warning monitoring traps will help corn and edible growers. Growers in Blyth and surrounding counties will need to be especially watchful, as high moth catches were found the past two seasons.

Early signs of anthracnose were hard to detect in fields, and quickly developed into hot spots in fields. Ontario will need to be vigilant about seed, and through regular scouting and management to protect their crop.

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 products. Some growers that pull beans abandoned using preharvest treatments. A new preharvest treatment research project will hopefully provide growers with new options in a couple of years.

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