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Nation's edible bean crop looked good in late August, but in some states needed more time to mature

The edible bean crop in North Dakota, the No. 1 producer in the United States, was rated 8% excellent, 48% good, 41% fair and 3% poor the week ending Aug. 21, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department National Agricultural Statistics Service.

Pinto bean field with trees in the background.
Northern Plains edible bean fields, like this pinto bean field near Johnstown, North Dakota, generally looked good in late August, but will need a few frost-free before they reach maturity. Photo taken Aug. 23, 2022.
Ann Bailey / Agweek
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As the meteorological summer drew to a close, most of North Dakota’s 2022 dry edible bean crop was in good condition, but it needed more time to mature.

The state is the No. 1 producer of edible beans in the United States. Farmers in the state grow 35% of the U.S.'s crop of dry edible beans, including 46% of the country's navy beans and 56% of the pinto beans.

North Dakota’s crop, which was planted late because cold, wet weather prevented farmers from getting into the field, was rated 8% excellent, 48% good, 41% fair and 3% poor the week ending Aug. 21, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agriculture Statistics Service. Pod setting was near average by that date, but only 9% of the crop had dropped leaves, compared to the average of 34%.

In Walsh County, North Dakota, crop progress in late August was from two to three weeks behind where it typically would be, said Brad Brummond, North Dakota State University Extension agriculture agent for Walsh County.

In 2020 Walsh County was the top edible bean county in North Dakota. Yields averaged 1,890 pounds per acre on the 108,100 acres farmers planted. Total production was 2 million hundredweight.


This year, the harvest will be later, which left the edible beans vulnerable to late-season weather conditions.

“I think our edible bean harvest will be pushed back to October,” Brummond said.

That means that the crop would be vulnerable to frost for a few more weeks..

“This is one of our better edible bean crops, but I’ve seen all that change within one night,” he said.”We could have a huge bean crop or we could have a bust.”

Farther south, in Traill County, North Dakota, harvest also was expected to be later than normal, said Daniel Fuglesten, Central Valley Bean Co. general manager.

“I don’t think much is going to be happening before Labor Day,” Fuglesten said.

In late August, the edible beans had set pods and generally looked good, but needed more time to ripen.

“We still need a lot of time on a lot of beans so there will be risk until it’s done,” Fuglesten said.


Pinto bean plants with pods.
Edible fields are in good condition in North Dakota in late August, but many of them needed a few more weeks before they would be mature enough to harvest. Photo taken Aug. 23, 2022.
Ann Bailey / Agweek

The condition of the edible beans in Foster County, in east-central North Dakota, in late August was variable, said Brad Stevens, Fessenden Co-op Association general manager.

“We’re going to have some good beans and some bad beans,” he said. “We’re about two to three weeks behind. We had rain and heavy winds that stunted the growth. We had a lot of replants right up until the Fourth of July.”

He estimated harvest would be delayed by about a month.

“We need the whole month of September without frost,” Stevens said.

Here’s a look at the condition of edible beans in some other production states.


The edible bean crop was rated 8% excellent, 66% good and 24% fair and 2% poor, NASS said. Ninety six percent of the beans were setting pods.

In south-central Minnesota, near Brownton, wet conditions this spring delayed planting, and they didn’t get in the ground until the first week of June, said Jeff Kosek, a dark red kidney bean and black bean farmer who serves on the Northarvest Bean Growers Association board of directors.


“We were wet, then it turned dry,” he said. No significant rain fell between Memorial Day and early August.

Despite the dry growing conditions, the edible bean crop looked pretty good, Kosek said.

The edible beans were pod setting in late August, and Kosek estimated harvest would begin about a month after that.


Michigan farmers began planting edible beans in mid-May, then conditions turned wet for about 10 days when they were kept out of the field before finishing up planting, said Joe Cramer, Michigan Bean Commission executive director.

Rainfall throughout the growing season has been spotty, but, overall, the edible beans look pretty good, Cramer said.

According to NASS, the crop was rated 4% excellent, 35% good, 36% fair and 18% poor and 7% very poor as of Aug. 22.

Cramer anticipated that harvest would begin the second week of September and continue until mid-October.


Dry weather has taken a toll on Nebraska’s edible bean crop, said Bob Harveson, University of Nebraska Extension plant pathologist.

“It’s been rough because of the drought. We’ve had very little rain," Harveson said. “Even with irrigation, it’s hard to keep things as wet as they need to be.”

The lack of rain has stunted plant growth, which likely will result in harvest being pushed back later than normal.

“Then we have potential problems of freeze damage,” Harveson said.

According to NASS, the dry edible beans were rated 4% very poor, 5% poor, 27% fair, 63% good, and 1% excellent. Dry edible beans blooming was 96%, near 94% last year. Beans setting pods was 67%, 22% behind last year.


The edible bean crop in Chippewa County in western Wisconsin was in pretty good condition in late August, said Jerry Clark, University of Wisconsin agricultural extension agent-Chippewa County.

The edible beans were in the pod setting stage and, depending on the variety,harvest likely would begin in mid-to late September, which is typical for the county, Clark said.

Ann is a journalism veteran with nearly 40 years of reporting and editing experiences on a variety of topics including agriculture and business. Story ideas or questions can be sent to Ann by email at: abailey@agweek.com or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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