The Challenges of growing beans
in the eastern U.S.

By William Liggitt – Technical Bean Advisor @ Pop Vriend Seeds

Growing green beans in the eastern U.S. can be quite a challenge. As a Technical Bean Advisor at Pop Vriend Seeds, I talk with many growers who all have their individual challenges when it comes to growing beans. It depends on the season, the growing region, the type of variety needed and their growing practices. But there are two factors they all can relate to: climate change and the continuous increase of production costs.

Hot, hotter, hottest
Warm days, cool nights. That is the ideal situation for bean production. Unfortunately, nights are getting warmer and warmer in the eastern U.S. That means the growing process is speeding up and that effects the quality of the crop. Because the seasons get drier, the soil dries out which results in bad plant growth or even a dead plant. Sometimes I even see growers trying to control this by cooling the soil to increase germination and the vigor of the seed to come out of the soil. This is not a good solution, because the soil can get too hot and that is very bad for the plants.

While the temperature is climbing, there is also more pressure from insects and diseases. And that increases the risk of damaged crops. That is why it is so important to tackle all the basic principles for a good crop: proper land preparation, good crop rotation, a proactive crop protection program, adequate scouting of the crop and the correct bean variety for the specific growing segment. Only then can you tackle the challenges that we currently face.

Increased production costs
Another challenge is production costs. Land isn’t getting cheaper and costs of fertilizers, crop protection, fuel prices, labor, equipment costs and other various inputs are always on the rise. Growers need to be smart and consider how each input benefits their operation and weigh it against total cost. As a grower, you must be smart in considering all possible aspects, and the right bean variety must also be carefully thought through to maximize yield potential.

Beat the Heat
I would recommend growers diversify their bean varieties depending on the season and conditions specific to their growing region. Diversification of varieties makes sure that you know you have the right variety for the right slot. Take Florida for example. This region has a long season. The temperature starts out hot in September, while it just becomes summer, cools down in the winter and then gets hotter again as spring begins. At Pop Vriend Seeds, we have The Magma Collection, which is a good portfolio to try when growing beans in the eastern U.S. These bean varieties are specifically bred to handle the extreme heat conditions in the East Coast. The collection consists of the varieties PV857, PV958/Sanford, PV959, PV961 and are performing well on heat tolerance, disease resistance, quality, and yield throughout the region. So, if you want to diversify your bean varieties throughout the year, you can try PV958/Sanford for the cooler slot of the winter and PV857, PV959 and PV961 during the heat slots. If you want to know more about our Magma Collection, feel free to reach out to me personally!

Follow me on social media
I visit bean growers daily. Because sharing knowledge is key to me, I am happy to keep you updated on everything I see in the field. You can follow me on Instagram via william_popvriendseeds and get exclusive insights from my journey visiting bean trials throughout eastern U.S.