2016 northeast Michigan dry bean variety trial results

MSU Extension and ADM Edible Bean partnered to test eight dry bean varieties in an on-farm observation trial.

Michigan State University Extension Presque Isle County partnered with ADM Edible Bean to continue the northeast Michigan dry bean variety trial in 2016. This year’s trial was hosted by Abledinger Farms of Hillman, Michigan. Included were eight different upright-growing varieties in four different classes of beans. The varieties evaluated were Viper (small red), Powderhorn (great northern), Merlin, Vigilant, Alpena, Indi (navy), Zenith and Zorro (black).

Unlike previous variety trials conducted in our region consisting of small plots, this year’s trial was composed of large, un-replicated strip plots, running across the field 30 feet wide by 1,350 feet long. Planting was completed June 13. All varieties were planted in 30-inch rows with Viper small reds at 85,000 seeds per acre and all other classes at 120,000 seeds per acre. At plant, 6 gallons of 7-25-25 was applied as a pop-up. The field also received 200 pounds of potash and 150 pounds of ammonium sulfate per acre. For weed control, Outlook and Permit were sprayed and incorporated before planting. Basagran, Reflex and Raptor were used post-emergence and applied with an additional 2 gallons per acre of 7-25-25 liquid fertilizer. Beans were killed Sept. 15 and direct-cut harvested on Oct. 11, with harvest moistures ranging from 20.8-24 percent.

This year was an unusual growing season for dry beans, as this summer presented above-average temperatures and extended periods without significant rainfall. Only 8.73 inches of rain fell in this region from June through September. This is 3 inches below the normal 11.8 inches that falls in this period on average. Average temperatures this year were 3 degrees warmer than the 30-year average in July, and a whopping 6 degrees warmer in August and September.

Of the four navy bean varieties, Alpena proved to be the top yielding at 16.58 hundredweight (cwt) per acre. Indi was a close second at 16.14 cwt, followed by Vigilant at 15.12 cwt and Merlin at 10.60 cwt. In the black bean class, Zorro out-yielded its replacement variety, Zeenith, 15.4 cwt to 14.51 cwt, respectively. The lone small red bean, Viper, ran 13.19 cwt per acre, and the Powderhorn great northern yielded 9.94 cwt per acre. It is important to remember this yield data comes from single, un-replicated strip plots, and should be treated as an approximation only.

MSU Extension thanks Dan Hensler of ADM Edible Bean Division for supporting the continuation of the northeast Michigan dry bean variety trial, and Todd Ableidinger for hosting the trial. Information from this trial serves as an important tool for our dry bean producers in selecting the best varieties for their farms and consumers. 

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