Agronomy

Faba beans are a much better fit in northern areas

Fabas are a relatively new crop in western Canada and there is a learning curve that comes along with growing them.  Their growing season is longer than ideal in the north and they need more moisture than is usually available in the south.  So this means that farmers in the brown soil zones of the south can get decent cosmetic quality for the Egyptian whole bean export market, but usually not a good enough yield to make it profitable.  Farmers in the north can get good yields but, due to frost and lygus bug damage, they will often have poor cosmetic quality.  Because of this, they have ended up selling most of their production for feed.

Benefits of growing fabas

While fabas are a crop with a longer than ideal growing season for western Canada, they make up for it in many of their benefits.

Pros:

-Fabas do not require any nitrogen fertilizer and they fix more excess nitrogen into the soil than any other crop we grow.  This results in higher yields and protein levels of subsequent crops for up to three years after. 

-They can be seeded very early in the spring and are very resistant to spring frosts.

-They make soils very mellow and contribute to good soil health.

-Fabas stand very well and are very quick and easy to combine.

-Fabas are fairly resistant to root rot 

-Fabas are very high in protein, making them desirable to a growing number of markets

Brad Goudy,

with Faba Canada Ltd.,

is working with agronomists, researchers, pulse grower groups and growers themselves, to learn all we can to better understand fabas so that we can develop good agronomic practices that work for western Canada

For more detailed info on faba agronomy, please visit: https://saskpulse.com/growing-pulses/

https://albertapulse.com/growing-faba-beans/

Canada is unique in that most of our faba production is

"tannin free"

Initially, most farmers were growing the "tannin" type of beans that most of the rest of the world grows.  These are very popular in the Middle East and Asian countries for various food applications. But because a great deal of our production can end up being feed grade, and domestic feed buyers generally do not want "tannin" beans, most growers have switched over to "zero tannin" beans.  The "Snowbird" variety makes up over 80% of our production in western Canada.

Zero tannin beans are a lighter colour than the tan coloured tannin beans and do not have the bitter tannin taste.

Canadian breeders are now in the process of developing new varieties that will be low in vicine/convicine which will be even more desirable to the food industry.

Proactive Producers