Despite some minor set backs at the beginning of bean harvest, farmers are expect to take off another quality crop by October.
The harvest is about 40 per cent complete, which is a far cry from the harvest being done by this time last year.
“This year, just a slightly later planting,” said Keven Sawchuk, merchandiser for the Bow Island and Taber Viterra Bean Plants.
“Some speculation (is) that a lot of those smoky days in the late summer, (and) maybe some of the crops didn’t advance quite as quickly. Temperatures were warm but a lot of smoke cover maybe limited some of the UV to slow maturity a little bit.
“And small showers lately have delayed some of the harvest progress. In general, the crop for the most part is maturing and ready to go. It’s just field conditions that we need to dry or improve a little bit, then guys should be back into widespread harvest.”
With this year being considered a drought period, the dryland bean is not affected because they are housed on irrigated land.
Sawchuk said in places such as Manitoba, bean producers were impacted by drought conditions because of slightly smaller seed sizes and pocket areas where yields were reduced.
“In southern Alberta, I would say the bean guys faired pretty well,” he said.
Beans thrive in a hot , dry summer conditions where disease problems are limited with less moisture and produce a more quality product, he added.
The crop is planted in late May to early June and the harvest begins in September.
“It is a long season crop,” said Sawchuk.
“It’s really dependent on weather conditions. But typically four to five weeks. A little bit of September and a little bit of October.”
The challenges that bean farmers face at this time of year include a frost before the beans are fully matured, while in season, moisture is a risk for the crop while its waiting to be harvested, he added.
Bow Island is the “Bean Capital of the West,” and Sawchuk considered the bean industry in the last 40 years to be “very modest and very steady,” and because of the commitment of local growers, a quality product is produced.
“They’re very proud and we’re very proud to say we’re growing varieties that have been locally developed and well suited for our production area, which again another feather in the cap of our growers and their commitment to the industry,” he said.
“We like the future for dry beans here and we think it should be a continued growth story.”
Beans that are produced in the area are shipped all around the globe.