Common beans, or dry beans, are native to South and Central America, but research efforts have been successful in providing varieties suitable for Canadian climates. A remarkably fruitful opportunity for growers, as North Americans tend to consume dry beans more than any other pulse.
Research is ongoing, as we learned at the 2014 Select Grower Field Tour just outside of Saskatoon, SK, where breeding objectives continue to include: early maturity, market acceptability, improved pod clearance and high yield.
“Primarily the breeding program revolves around pinto beans, yellow beans and black beans ’cause those are high value,” says Kirsten Bett of the University of Saskatchewan. “But, we also do work on navy beans, ’cause there appears to be a growing demand.”
In this Pulse School episode, Bett talks about some of the breeding objectives of current research, ideal climate conditions and what consumers visually assess in dry beans. Bett also explains slow darkening pinto beans (with pintos, of course, being the most common class to grow in North America) and why it isn’t often recommended to seed dry beans with an air drill.
A great resource for more information on dry beans is the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers’ Growing Your Beans.