January 11, 2005
Variety development continues to be the No. 1 priority of the research program. Most of the 2004 research budget was in some way related to the effort to develop dry bean varieties adapted to the Northarvest region. Over the past four years, Northarvest has invested an average of $160,000 in plant breeding. Scientists from several departments at NDSU are working together to breed varieties that mature earlier, yield more, retain top grade coloring, and are less affected by excess water, white mold, rust and root diseases.
Since its inception in 1991, the dry bean breeding program has released one navy and three pinto varieties. This year, NDSU released the first black bean variety from the program, Eclipse.
While other public and private dry bean breeding programs have declined, Northarvest maintained the program at NDSU and is looking for new sources of additional funding for variety development.
The Growers Association also funded three other research projects in 2004. One, conducted by the University of Minnesota, evaluated the effect of nitrogen fertilizer and liming of acid soils on kidney bean root rot. The second involved field evaluation of four dry bean populations for white mold resistance. It was conducted by NDSU. The third, conducted by USDA-ARS Human Nutrition Center, Grand Forks, N.D., studied high-selenium pinto beans as a value-added product. Selenium, an element found in soils in parts of North Dakota and Minnesota, has human health benefits. When beans are grown on soil containing selenium, the seeds contain high levels of selenium
Northarvest also helped the North Dakota State Board of Agricultural Research and Education (SBARE) approve dry bean disease, weed control and fertility research proposals for funding. Northarvest also provided additional funds for these studies.
Research Committee - The Northarvest Research Committee screens research proposals and makes funding recommendations to the full board.
Current committee members are:
Mark Myrdal, Edinburg, N.D.
Gary Paur, Gilby, N.D.
Gary Friskop. Wahpeton, N.D.
Kevin Anderson, East Grand Forks, Minn.
Jon Ewy, Deer Creek, Minn.
Jim Sletten, Northwood, N.D.
Paul Schulz, Washburn, N.D.
Mike Beltz, Hillsboro, N.D.
Brian Love, Euclid, Minn.
Mike Beelner, Park Rapids, Minn.
Mark Dombeck, Perham, Minn.