Dry edible beans play a role in Rudy Dotzenrod's farming dream
Rudy Dotzenrod finds dry edible beans to be a good fit in his rotation, both because of the timing of work and the benefits he finds for the crops that follow beans.
Farming has always been the dream for Rudy Dotzenrod.
After attending Minnesota State University-Moorhead, Dotzenrod returned to operate his third-generation family farm in Wyndmere, North Dakota, where he and his wife Laura are raising their five children.
“Kind of knew what I wanted to do for a long time,” said Dotzenrod. “So, I was fortunate enough to get a chance to take over the family farm when I was 25.”
He farms corn, soybeans and edible beans, including navy, pinto and black beans. This crop rotation allows for Dotzenrod to make the most of his time.
“Everything kind of happens in different windows, different timing windows you know. Corn and soybeans are planted early, the edible beans you can plant later and then you can harvest them first, so it works good for spreading out the workload for everything on the farm,” said Dotzenrod.
Dotzenrod said they have also noticed their corn seems to yield more on ground following an edible bean crop.
“I know this last year, the corn we took off, the highest yielding corn fields were edible bean fields the previous year,” said Dotzenrod. “So, it seems like it fits well in the rotation.”
But there can be challenges with growing an edible bean crop. They require management for different pests, need warm ground to plant and will not do well if there is an excess of moisture.
“They are not the easiest thing to grow either; they kind of can be kind of finicky and temperamental,” said Dotzenrod. “We have been fortunate, the past few summers have been a little drier than normal, so we have had average to above average yields, so that’s been good.”
Right now, there is a lot of snow on the ground at Dotzenrod’s operation, but he is planning for the upcoming planting season.
“Last year it was a late start for us, we didn’t get into the field until May 16,” he said. “I think we will be ahead of that this year; I don’t know how much, hopefully the 5th or the 10th.”
This year will be the first year Dotzenrod will be planting more edible beans than soybeans.
“So, we will have a good chunk of acres into the edibles,” said Dotzenrod. “They’ve been a good crop for us and it works well with the rotation.”
However, he does think that soybean processing plants will provide some competition for the edible bean acres.
“I just expect there is going to be more of them over the next three, four years coming online,” said Dotzenrod. “There is three of them proposed in North Dakota right now, if they all go through. If and when, they will get up and fully optional, those three plants will be able to process 75% of the soybeans we currently plant in the state of North Dakota.”
Dotzenrod still believes that edible beans are a viable crop option and offers some advice for other producers considering adding edible beans to their crop rotations.
“I would say start small, do 80 acres or a quarter,” he said. “Maybe talk to some of the neighbors in the area who have grown them before. They are all a little bit different, the navy beans like a certain type of ground and the pinto and the blacks are a little bit more forgiving, I think. I think it’s a viable option and it’s something people should be willing to try.”