Spring beans work tremendously well as a break within a tillage rotation, according to Irish rugby star Rory Best.

The Best family grow 900 acres of combinable crops in south Co. Down, across a number of locations. This year’s crop mix comprises winter wheat, winter oats, winter oilseed rape and spring beans.

“In our own case the beans are sown out at the end of April and then harvested in October, once all the other crops have been combined. So they fit in perfectly from an overall farm management point of view.

“We have been growing beans for the last number of years, really without a hitch.”

A pedigree Aberdeen Angus herd and 300 acres of grassland make up the remainder of the Best farming business.

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Ireland’s hooker pointed out that beans are easy to grow, normally easy to harvest and easy to sell.

“Weather can be a big factor when it comes to harvest time,” he said.

“Once combined, the beans are dried and then put in store. We crush a proportion of the crop for inclusion in our own livestock rations with the remainder sold to local farmers.”

Best confirmed that all this year’s winter crops are looking well.

“The oilseed rape went into an excellent seed bed at the beginning of last September. Crops established well and flowering went without a hitch. What we need now is plenty of sunshine in order to get maximum pod fill.

“Most of our winter wheat crops are also in tremendous heart. Again, they got a good start last backend. The only downer is the current state of the cereal markets. Prices are not good at all. And there is unlikely to be any lift between now and harvest time.”