Bean crops have performed extremely well in the south east this year, according to Sean Brett of Kilkenny-based feed compounder Brett Brothers.

“We are taking in beans at the moment for the first time in many years,” he said.

“Quality and yields are excellent, Moisture levels are in the region of 19% to 20% with yields ranging from 2.75t/ac to 3.25t/ac.

“We are not quoting a producer price at the present time. Most of the beans we are taking in were grown on an agreed basis. We will be using them as a protein source in beef, dairy and sheep rations over the coming months.

Teagasc agronomist John Pettit confirmed that the bean harvest is now complete in Wexford with yields ranging from 2t/ac to 3.3t/ac,” he said.

“This is well up on previous years. Growers securing yields in excess of 3t are making reasonable profits. Beans are both attractive from a greening perspective and the additional protein subsidy payment they draw down.”

Pettit confirmed that the acreage of beans grown in Ireland is on the increase.

“Tillage farmers are getting more experience of growing the crop,” he said.

“As a result, agronomy standards are improving. Recent trials carried out by Teagasc have also highlighted the key management criteria that must be followed when growing beans. And these insights have been taken up by the vast majority of growers this year.”

Drummonds’ agronomist Dermot Meehan confirmed that the bean harvest will get underway in the north Dublin area this weekend.

“And it will be that little bit later again in Co. Louth,” he said.

“There has been a significant growth in the acreage of beans grown in the north east over the past couple of years. Farmers are opting for both winter and spring varieties.

“Winter crops are looking particularly promising with yields in excess of 2t/ac more than achievable.”

Meehan said that it was too early to talk about the price that will be available for beans this year.

“A number of growers signed up to forward contracts, which are price dependent. The protein subsidy currently available adds to the attraction of the crops for tillage farmers.

“They also represent a third crop option for specialist tillage farmers seeking to comply with the new greening regulations. Beans are not a difficult crop to grow, provided due care and attention is taken during the early development stages.

“There is considerably greater expense incurred with winter beans than would be the case with spring varieties.”