NDSU Experiment Station introduces new varieties of pinto, kidney beans

Juan Osorno, a North Dakota State University plant breeder, introduced new dark red kidney and pinto bean varieties in January 2023

A man wearing a white shirt and dark sport coat speaks to farmers.
Juan Osorno, a North Dakota State University dry edible bean breeder, spoke to farmers at Northarvest Bean Day, held Jan. 19, in Fargo, North Dakota, about edible bean varietal trials.
Ann Bailey / Agweek

Farmers soon will have new edible bean varieties to plant that were developed by a North Dakota State University dry bean plant breeder.

Juan Osorno introduced North Dakota Rodeo, a slow-darkening pinto bean variety, and North Dakota dark red kidney variety, North Dakota Red Barn, to farmers at Northarvest Bean Day in Fargo on Jan. 20, 2023.

Skin check 1.jpg
A skin check is performed on kidney beans at Chippewa Valley Beans in Menomonie, Wisconsin, on Dec. 15, 2022. Minnesota leads the nation in kidney bean production, and a new variety produced by North Dakota State University -- North Dakota Red Barn -- is expected to be grown in Minnesota and North Dakota.
Noah Fish / Agweek

North Dakota Red Barn has a shape similar to Montcalm, a variety released in 1973, that still is the industry standard for kidney bean shape. The Red Barn variety, though developed in North Dakota, also will be planted in Minnesota, the largest kidney bean state in the U.S. More than 50% of the kidney beans in the country are grown in Minnesota, Osorno said.

Besides a superior seed shape, trials conducted from 2012 to 2021 showed that Red Barn had good yields — 300 pounds per acre higher than Montcalm — and white mold tolerance and intermediate resistance to common bacterial blight and the root rot complex, Osorno said.

Osorno also talked about North Dakota Rodeo, a new pinto bean variety, at Northarvest Bean Day.


“I think it’s going to be another good option for farmers, especially those who are dealing with slow-darkening pintos,” Osorno said. Farmers appear to have definite opinions on planting slow-darkening pinto beans, either loving them or hating them, he said.

Pinto beans fill a truck box.
Pinto beans fill Roger and Randy Karignan's semi-tractor-trailer in a field south of Walhalla, North Dakota. Photo taken Oct. 18, 2022. A new North Dakota State University pinto bean variety -- North Dakota Rodeo -- could be a slow-darkening variety that meets producers' needs.
Ann Bailey / Agweek

North Dakota Rodeo has potential because it is high yielding, something that has been an issue with earlier slow-darkening varieties. For example, NDSU Extension edible bean trials conducted between 2017 and 2022 showed that North Dakota Rodeo yielded an average of 22.7 hundredweight per acre, 3.9 hundredweight higher than North Dakota Palomino and 5.6 hundredweight higher than Vibrant, two other slow-darkening pinto varieties. North Dakota Rodeo also yielded 1.6 hundredweight and 1 hundredweight per acre, respectively, more than the conventional pinto bean varieties of Monterey and LaPaz, Osorno said.

“Criticism was, slow-darkening pintos don’t yield as well as conventional varieties. I think we’re finally being able to break that barrier,” he said.

The hope is that North Dakota Rodeo will be an improved version of Lariat, an older pinto bean variety that farmers liked, he said.

Besides consistently above average yields in research trials, North Dakota Rodeo also stands up well and has good tolerance to bacterial blight, Osorno said.

Pinto bean plants with pods.
New varieties of pinto and kidney beans produced by North Dakota State University appear to have increased tolerance to common bean diseases. This photo of a pinto bean plant was taken Aug. 23, 2022.
Ann Bailey / Agweek

Foundation seed of Red Barn and Rodeo will be available for the 2023 growing season.

In 2022, Osorno announced the release of North Dakota Polar, the newest navy bean variety in about 10 years. The navy bean variety offers higher seed yield than other navy bean varieties commonly grown in the region. In addition, it offers a good agronomic package for the rest of the traits of economic importance.

The foundation North Dakota Polar navy bean seed was made available to certified seed producers in 2022 and will be available to farmers in the 2023 growing season.

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: or phone at: 218-779-8093.
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