Beans provide a useful break crop for wheat or seed crops. They produce their own nitrogen and also leave residual nitrogen for the following crop. They can be sown very early in spring thus getting acres planted and their root structure leaves soil in very good condition. Livestock production in Ireland depends on imported protein for use in feed. This can be very expensive and even difficult to source where one wants a GM free source.
Beans Key Points
- Pulse crops (peas and beans) are currently minority crops with an estimated 18,700 tonnes produced from 3,500 ha annually.
- Ireland is significantly deficient in animal feed protein but the industry has not developed to fill this deficit.
- We can produce high (but sometimes variable) yields of good quality beans whilst providing a good break crop in rotations, thus allowing first-crop wheat production to be increased.
- The ability of pulses to fix nitrogen decreases nitrogen requirement in the following crops.
- They are combinable crops - no additional equipment needed on farms.
- Beans (and peas) are in big demand for coarse rations because they can be easily seen and are very palatable.
- They are a non-GM protein source for specific market needs.