Faba bean (Vicia faba L.) is a legume with high nitrogen fixing capability
Height of 4 to 6 ft.
Growing season is 100 to 110 days
Adapted to moist growing areas and responds well to irrigation
The seed is 27 – 31% protein, providing excellent supplements in poultry, swine, and livestock feeds and can be substituted for soybean meal (Zijlstra, 2005)
Faba bean is very cold hardy
Growing Faba Beans:
Fababeans prefer heavier soils in moist growing areas. Hot dry zones, light textured soils in drought-prone environments should be avoided. Irrigated production has proven very successful.
Insurance is available on registered varieties such as Taboar.
Pathologists recommend four to five years separation between susceptible pulse crops and faba bean crops Seed faba bean on cereal stubble to avoid common diseases carried by canola and other legumes.
Inoculate the seed prior to seeding. The seeding rate varies from 100 to 180 lbs per acre, depending on seed size. Target a seed density of four plants per square foot. Deep planting (2 to 3 inches) is required for good seed to soil contact in order to provide the significant seed moisture for germination. Early planting (as soon as soil conditions permit in late April) results in best yields. The seedlings are frost tolerant. Yields have been observed to be significantly reduced as planting is delayed.
Seed size is comparatively large and can be easily damaged in drills. Seed cups, metering systems, and delivery systems must be checked for suitability to avoid seed cracking and seed run blockage. Flanged rollers on Morris and Melroe result in minimal damage. Fluted rollers as in IH and John Deere with adjustable seed gates (wide open position) have been used with success. (Kehrig and Rowland, 1984).
Modern air seeders should be checked for pluging at the distributors frequently.
The seed must be inocculated with Type “C” or Fababean-specific inocculant to establish nitrogen fixation. Nutrient requirements are similar to field peas. Nitrogen fertilizers are not typically necessary. P and K should be in the medium to high range.
Faba beans are poor weed competitors during the early growth stages. Selecting clean fields in conjunction with pre-plant weed control is important. Faba beans are slow to emerge. Rotary hoeing or pre-emergent harrowing during the first seven to ten days may be advisable. Harrowing is sometimes implemented after the seedlings are 6 to 15 cm (3 to 6 inches) high. There is a broad spectrum of pre- and post-emergent herbicides registered for faba beans. Consult your local chemical guide.
Standard harvesting equipment is suitable for Faba beans. Mature crops are subject to shattering. Swathing is recommended when the lower pods are turning black. There is a fairly long dry down period when lying in swath. A partial cut with large swathers produces a lighter swath for more rapid dry down. Straight cutting has been very successful on some occasions. A wide concave setting with slow cylinder speed reduces combine damage. 15 to 16% moisture is adequate for storage (14% is dry).
Full production contracts are available from Terramax for Taboar low-tannin faba bean.
Faba bean in Saskatchewan, SAF
Faba bean production and management, MAFRI Website: www.gov.mb.ca
Pulse Production Manual, Saskatchewan Pulse Growers, Website:www.saskpulse.ca
Kehrig, R. and Rowland, C.G. 1984, Relative rating for pulse crops of common seed cups used in Western Canada.
Zijlstra, R.T., et al. 2005, Zero-tannin faba bean nutrient assessment and swine erformance trials for Alberta. Farm Tech, p. 161