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Bean Day production update
April 24, 2003

            Richard Zollinger                                                                        Jim Percich

Extension specialist, scientists report progress on
several fronts

There was good news and bad news in the first year of a University of Minnesota dry bean fertilizer/inoculation trial.

The good news: current nitrogen (N) recommendations gave the maximum yield.

The bad news: Inoculating seed didn't produce consistent results.

The purpose of the trial, conducted with navy, pinto and red kidney beans at four locations in Minnesota, was to identify the proper combination of applied fertilizer and inoculation in dry beans.

Researchers hoped to confirm that less N was needed for optimum yields when seed was inoculated with rhizobium - bacteria that helps the plant produce root nodules, which fix N from the air.


George Rehm (Above)

Researchers applied five rates of N, (0, 30, 60, 90, 120 pounds per acre) with and without inoculated seed at planting.

There was a yield increase with applied N, which is consistent with past studies. But only in one instance did inoculation reduce optimum N rates.

That's according to George Rehm, University of Minnesota (U of M) extension soil scientist. For more information, contact Rehm at (612) 625-6210 or

Combination boosts yields
 "We think we have some encouraging information," says James Percich, U of M plant pathologist.
The use of integrated strategies to control kidney bean root rot involving deep tillage and treating kidney bean seed with biocontrol agents (Bacillus subtilis and/or Rhizobium) have increased kidney bean yields 100-300 lbs/a in U of M trials.
Each practice alone increased yields but the biggest impact occurred when they were all combined.  A brief summary of results and conclusions are as follows:

Chemical Seed Treatments:
1.  Captan will kill Rhizobium when it is in contact with the seed.
2.  Streptomycin may inhibit certain strains of Rhizobium on or near kidney bean seed.
3.  Apron(r) and Maxx(r) RTA will decrease populations of Rizobium in the field over time.

Biological Seed Treatments:
1. Rhizobium inoculation will increase kidney bean (10 to 30%) and soybean (30 to 100%) yield in soils that have low numbers of Rhizobia.
2. Bacillus seed treatment (Kodiak(r) or Subtilex(r)) alone increased kidney bean yields 100 to 300 lbs/A.

1. Sub-soiling alone will enhance kidney bean root growth and increase yields.
2. The integrated use of tillage (sub-soiling) in combination with Rhizobia further increased kidney bean yields.

Nitrogen Fertilizer:
1.  When using Rhizobium inoculation use no more than 30 pounds per acre of nitrogen fertilizer at sowing.  Greater amounts of nitrogen will prevent Rhizobia infection and, therefore, nitrogen fixation.
2. Recommended nitrogen rates and their impact on the successful infection of Rhizobia on kidney bean and subsequent nitrogen fixation in Minnesota will be available in the future. For more information, contact Percich at (612) 625-8200 or

Weed Control
Raptor can now be applied ppi or pre up to three days after planting, reports Richard Zollinger, NDSU extension weed control specialist. Such application will provide some residual nightshade control. However, it eliminates the opportunity to apply Raptor post emergence and it increase selection pressure for ALS nightshade.

ALS resistant Eastern Black Nightshade is present in Minnesota and North Dakota. ALS resistant nightshade has now been documented in Cass, Barnes, Richland, Stutsman and Trail counties. A similar distribution is likely in northwest Minnesota, too. Evidence is clear that if you use an ALS herbicide seven or eight times, an ALS resistant nightshade population begins to take root. Soil applied herbicides that control ALS nightshade include Authority/Spartan, Outlook and Balance (corn). Effective post-applied herbicides include Flexstar/Reflex, Callisto and Glyphosate (on small Eastern Black Nightshade.)

Look for Reflex to get a section 18 in North Dakota and Minnesota. Reflex has a different mode of action than  ALS herbicides. It is effective on ragweed, waterhemp, nightshade, kochia, pigweed, cocklebur, mustard and smartweed. It is weak on lambsquarters, buckwheat, and biennial wormwood. Cost is about $7.50 at the 0.75 pt/A rate.
For more information, contact Richard Zollinger at (701) 231-8157 or email:

Plant Breeding Development
If fighting white mold were a crime story on TV, you might consider the following a break in the case:

A new federal program - the Multi-State Sclerotinia Initiative managed by USDA-Agriculture Research Service in Fargo - is hastening the identification of several new bean lines with good resistance to white mold, says Ken Grafton, NDSU experiment station director and dry bean breeder. One of the lines was developed by the NDSU dry bean breeding program prior to the Sclerotinia Initiative.  It was identified from a population involving the old, susceptible pinto variety Aztec, and the white mold resistant navy bean breeding line, ND88-106-04. This population was tested in North Dakota and Washington for two years. The Sclerotinia Initiative allowed breeders to test it more rapidly and thoroughly, and they were able to identify several lines with high levels of resistance, the best of which is a line that has high seed yield and small pinto seed traits. For more information, contact Grafton at (701) 231-6693 or email:

Variety selection tips
Much of your success with dry beans starts with choosing the right variety for your farm.

Here are two tips from Duane Berglund, NDSU extension agronomist, on picking dry bean winners for your farm:
1. Check yield results from independent trials over several years and several locations. The best varieties will rise to the top. Data from multiple years and sites increases the odds that the variety will be able to handle a wider variety of weather and soil conditions.
2. Pay attention to maturity. Generally, the later maturing a dry bean variety is, the higher the yield potential. But the risk goes up, too. Capturing a few more pounds of beans every year may not be worth the risk if you lose a significant portion due to an early frost. Maturity classifications are as follows: Very Early - Less than 90 days, Early- 91 to 94 days; Medium -  95 to 98 days; Late - 98 to 102 days; and Very Late - greater than 102 days.

Whatever dry bean variety you choose, be sure to grow it in a three or four year rotation with small grains, corn and other crops that are not susceptible to or hosts for white mold. Especially avoid growing dry beans a close rotation with canola or sunflowers, Berglund says.
For more information, contact Berglund at (701) 231-8135 or email

Picured below: Duane Bergland (Left) & Ken Grafton (Right)


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