Why February is the ideal month to sow beans

Tillage farmers should aim to sow beans during the month of February, according to Teagasc’s Phelim McDonald, provided ground conditions allow.

Speaking at a recent Tillage Seminar, the Teagasc Tillage Advisor gave farmers an update on the 2016 results of trial work carried out at Oakpark.

The trial work looked at the relationship between sowing rate and date and it found that the optimum sowing rate for spring beans is 30-35 seeds/m2.

“No matter what seed rate you had, February sowings gave the highest yield,” he said.

Farmers shouldn’t sow beans in poor conditions, but if you can sow the crop in February it gives you the best shot of achieving optimum yield levels.

“Over the last number of years, some farmers have sown beans later and have got good yields but it isn’t always necessarily going to be the way.

“Late sowing can lead to a late harvest and you may get conditions that aren’t great at harvest time,” he said.

If February sowing can not be achieved, he said March sowing is fine provided the crop is in the ground before the middle of the month, as yields drop dramatically between mid-March to April.

Interestingly enough the October dates are quite competitive and people have been trying it out in the last couple of years since beans went up from 3,000 to 10,000ha.

Farmers have been getting good results with autumn sowing, he said, but nothing that is really beating the spring yields.

“You will probably end up with an earlier harvest and it might spread the workload for the farmer,” he said.