Pulse School

Take a Hike… Through Your Faba Beans

If you’ve got your faba beans in the ground, as planned, it’s time to take a gander at the crop to assess the seeding depth, population and overall health of the plants.

“The minimum plant stand to target right now is 45 plants/m2, so that works out to be 4-5 plants/ft2,” says Sherrilyn Phelps, agronomy and seed program manager with the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers. “There is some research that’s indicating — out of Alberta — that higher plant populations can be of benefit, but there’s more work on that that will be starting in Saskatchewan.”

You can get an estimate of the plant stand relatively quickly if you know the row spacing, otherwise consider taking along a meter stick. Then it’s simply a factor of brushing the soil aside and doing a count.

And while you’re in the dirt, take a look at the seeding depth. Ideally, faba beans should go in between 1.5 and 3 inches, says Phelps. But, the greatest factor to consider when deciding on depth, is moisture availability.

As the season progresses, it’s important to keep scouting faba bean crops for potential threats. As the plants are relatively non-competitive out of the gate, early season weed control is essential.

“As they get growing, they get quite aggressive in growth and quite competitive so once they get established and are probably that foot-high, they just kind of take off. So it’s the early weed control that is critical.”

When scouting for insects and disease, keep an eye out for cutworms, wireworms, lygus bugs, grasshoppers, bertha armyworms, chocolate spot and sclerotinia, says Phelps.