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Dry bean improvement for the Northern Plains
April 18, 2005

Greenhouse lights simulate summer sunshine through winter to
grow another generation in the plant breeding programs


Develop high yielding, high quality bean genotypes adapted to the northern Great Plains. 



Breeding and disease nurseries, and yield trials were grown at nine locations in North Dakota and Minnesota [Prosper, Hatton (2), Forest River, Johnstown, Fargo, Carrington, Perham, and Park Rapids] in 2004. A white mold nursery was conducted at Carrington, which also had advanced yield trials and preliminary yield trials for pinto, navy, black, great northern, and pinks and reds. Two sites near Hatton were utilized, one for the variety trial and the other for the breeding nursery. Sites at Perham and Park Rapids were to test 774 lines for root rot resistance.

Pinto (P), navy (N), and miscellaneous (M) bean class variety trials were grown near Prosper (P, N, & M), Hatton (P, N, & M), Forest River (P & N) and Oakes (P & N); Preliminary and advanced yield tests were grown at Prosper, Hatton, Johnstown, and Park Rapids.

Flor de Mayo and Flor de Junio beans (two preferred bean classes in Mexico) and Central American reds (preferred in many countries in Central America as well as by immigrants from these countries in the U.S.) were grown in the field near Hatton as part of a program to identify new dry bean classes that may be adapted the northern Great Plains.



In 2004, the NDSU breeding program:

*        Released the black bean line ND9902621-2 with the name "Eclipse". Eclipse has excellent yield potential across a wide range of environments, combined with good disease resistance, erect growth habit, and excellent drydown.  In North Dakota environments, Eclipse consistently outperforms T-39 black bean and is uniform for plant structure and maturity.  Seed is similar in all respects to T-39, but Eclipse has slightly better canning quality, based on tests performed by the USDA-ARS bean quality lab in East Lansing, MI.

*        Jointly released germplasm derived from an NDSU navy bean breeding line, ND88-106-04, which consistently scored well in reduced white mold damage when evaluated in field conditions.

*        Tested 78 pinto, 67 navy, 39 black and 22 great northern and red bean lines in advanced yield trials.

*        Harvested approximately 800 plots for the variety trials alone (20 pinto entries, 23 navy, 23 miscellaneous and 13 kidney entries).

*        Harvested 2,472 test plots of preliminary and advanced yield trials.

*        Harvested other yield trials that increase anthracnose resistant material (54 entries) and Flor de Mayo trials (12 entries).

*        Made and harvested more than 7,000 single plant selections from breeding trials, plant nurseries and other sites.

Ken Grafton plants bean seeds on       Thousand of plants were evaluated in the
pots for greenhouse evaluation.          field this year.


Long-term Effort

"The dry bean breeding program at North Dakota State University is a long-term research effort to develop high yielding, high quality bean genotypes adapted to the northern Great Plains. Activities and procedures remain relatively similar from year to year, providing consistency in development and evaluation of material that is suited to the production systems and environment of the Northarvest production region.  Hybridizations are made between parents possessing desirable traits during the winter of each year.  Our first priority remains pinto improvement, and more than 40 percent of all crosses made are to improve this market class.  The remaining crosses involve the navy, black, dark and light red kidney, small red, great northern and pink market classes.  Parental germplasm consists of adapted cultivars grown in the Northern Plains, breeding lines developed at NDSU, and germplasm possessing desirable traits from other breeding programs.  Unadapted germplasm lines from other sources are evaluated for desirable traits and introgressed into adapted material (e.g., pre-breeding).  Each year, the breeding program evaluates material from around the world as possible sources of resistance to white mold, rust, root rot, anthracnose, virus, and bacterial blights.  Off-season nurseries are used to speed the breeding process and provide initial seed increases of lines that may be considered for release.
Ken Grafton

New Market Class Initiative

A new initiative has been started in the dry bean program to help growers diversify into other market classes, thereby increasing the possibility of further exports.  As indicated, breeding programs for dark and light red kidney, pink, small red, black, and great northern bean market classes also are underway.  Pink, small red, and great northern market classes are closely related to pinto bean, while black is similar to navy bean; materials used to improve the two major market classes may also be used to improve these other, minor classes. In addition to these market classes, we also have a small effort placed on developing Flor de Mayo and Flor de Junio beans (two preferred bean classes in Mexico) and Central American reds (preferred in many countries in Central America as well as by immigrants from these countries in the U.S.).  The first lines from this program were evaluated in the field near Hatton, ND for adaptation and yield in 2004.  
Ken Grafton.


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Northarvest Bean Growers Association | 50072 East Lake Seven Road | Frazee, MN 56544
Ph: 218-334-6351 | Fax: 218-334-6360 | Email: