While fabas have the potential to be a very good crop for western Canada, they do have some characteristics that are not ideal for our growing conditions.
Their longer growing season creates quality issues for growers in the northern regions where we can get good yields but we are always susceptible to early frosts. Farmers are also always hoping that breeders can develop higher yielding varieties for drier conditions as well.
The Snowbird variety has been a good one for farmers in western Canada so far - but it does have some limitations.
Canadian seed breeders are continually working to make improvements to create new varieties that will better suit our growing conditions and allow us to break into new markets.
The good news is - a number of Canadian breeders are within a few years of having some zero tannin, low vicine-convicine, high yielding varieties available to farmers. This will allow us to access some large markets that are presently not available to us and put Canada in a unique position in the faba bean world.
While they will continue to work on breeding for properties like shorter growing season and drought resistance, these low v-c varieties will be a huge benefit to us.
Faba Canada Ltd. will continue to work closely with the breeders to help with adoption and smooth transition of these new varieties, while maintaining high purity levels.
The one property that affects all faba varieties thus far is called vicine-convicine. Vicine-convice is a bit of an "achilles heel" for faba beans in some markets. This property has been linked to triggering a disease in humans called "favism". Favism is a fairly rare disease that can affect a small percentage of people, mainly of certain Mediterranean ethnic backgrounds, with a genetic predisposition related to G6PD deficiency.
even though favism is very rare, this situation has kept fabas out of some North Amercan food markets.