Dry beans can be harvested by undercutting and windrowing, swathing or direct harvesting (i.e., straight combining). Cutting and windrowing is more common for row-cropped beans and vine-type varieties that pod low to the ground. Direct harvest or swathing with lifters prior to combining has been more common for solid-seeded beans and upright-type varieties that achieve greater pod heights.
Desiccation and Preharvest Weed Control
- Desiccation: the application of a contact herbicide or true desiccant that will dry down plant material and advance harvest
- Preharvest weed control: the application of a systemic herbicide like glyphosate to control excessive weed pressure (esp. perennials) before harvest
- Will not dry down the crop in a timely fashion
- Consult with your grain buyer before using glyphosate. Some buyers many not accept crops treated with pre-harvest glyphosate due to scrutiny in the global marketplace.
Desiccation Timing: Targeting <30% Seed Moisture
- Visit the greenest part of the field
- 80 – 90% leaf drop and 80% of pods are mature/ripe
- When shaken, ripe seeds will rattle in pods
- Check the greenest pods, in the greenest part of the field
- Split green pods, and split the seeds within
- Looking for even split and colour change within the seed
- If seeds squash = too early
- Video: Desiccation timing in black beans. Length: 1 min 53 sec
- The Bean Report: Successful Desiccation Decisions in Peas and Dry Beans
- Keep it Clean! Pulses
Harvest at 16-18% seed moisture. This is when 75% of the pods are dry and the remaining pods are at the R9 (full maturity) stage, where pods are still flexible and yellow, but seed has full colour change.
Constant feeding into the header can reduce losses. Areas with less plant material may cause poor feeding into the header and therefore losses. High cylinder speeds and augers can inflict the greatest amount of seed damage. Set cylinder speeds as low as possible and to minimize seed damage.
The maximum safe storage moisture for dry beans is 16%. Moisture content below 16% can increase the amount of split or cracked seed coats and shriveled beans. Beans above 18% moisture are at risk of heating and spoilage. Visit the Canadian Grain Commission for a list of bean grade determinants.
- Post-Harvest Storage of Pulses – Saskatchewan Pulse Growers
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