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Beans Overview

Beans are a pulse crop, which is a legume plant that has dry, edible seeds in pods. Pulses come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colours.

Pulses are legume plants that have dry, edible seeds that are grown in pods.

The dry beans that are grown on the Prairies are: soybeans, faba beans, pinto, navy, great northern, small red, pink, and black. Dry beans have different bean types based on their seed coat colour and size. Beans are not a commonly grown crop in Saskatchewan.

These are some of the dry beans that are grown on the Prairies.

Over 100 countries import dry beans including countries such as Brazil, the United States, Italy, and Mexico.

Lentils, chickpeas, peas, and beans are all pulse crops grown in Canada.

Industry Overview

There are two types of dry beans that are grown in Saskatchewan: faba beans, and soybeans. Saskatchewan bean farmers seeded 51,000 hectares (126,000 acres) of soybeans in 2020, and 22,300 hectares (55,000 acres) of faba beans.

Once harvested, beans can be transported by semi-trucks to elevators to be stored, cleaned, and shipped. Beans can also be sent to processing facilities where they are prepared to be used in food for humans. Beans are usually left whole, but they can be dried and then packaged or canned. The products are then transported to grocery stores where they are purchased and enjoyed by people in a variety of food dishes.

Canada also exports beans. The countries that are importing beans include China, the United States, Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. The beans are taken from elevators on trains and put onto ships to transport to these international countries that buy Canadian grain.

An illustrated green beans crop.

Canada grows dry beans that can be enjoyed by humans in many different cooking dishes!

History of Beans

Farmers in Israel were growing beans over 10,000 years ago. Beans have continued to be an important source of protein throughout history.

Early farmers would have scattered seeds to plant their crops.

Growing Beans

There are two types of growth for beans, one is determinate, and one is indeterminate. Determinate growth plants will stop the growing process when the flowers are developed into pods. Indeterminate growth plants will keep growing until the crop goes through stress, such as not enough moisture or a frost. The crop can be sprayed in the summer if needed for weeds, insects, and diseases.

This is a green, unripe soybean crop.

Growing beans is good for soil that has lost a lot of its nutrients because beans are able to take nitrogen from the air and convert it to plant food. Since beans can do this, farmers do not need to add nitrogen fertilizer.

A few beans grow inside each of the pods, which are attached to the plants.

Quality and seed coat colour are important to maintain if they are going to go into the food market. ‘Buckskin’ is a term used to describe the colour of a pod that is ready for harvest – they should be yellow.

Pulling (undercutting) happens during harvest when the bottom pods are dry and yellow. If they are ripe, this should only be done two or three hours before combining. After this, the plants are able to be swathed. Beans can be straight cut combined. There are specialized combines to harvest beans.

A combine is operating in a soybean field.

This is a specialized combine harvesting a soybean crop.

Beans Nutrition

Beans are high in protein, about 20-25% a bean is protein. Beans are a great alternative to meat for protein. Beans are also high in potassium and complex carbohydrates.

Beans are a healthy choice for our bodies.

Beans Products

Beans are food for humans. They are very popular in Mexican and Caribbean cultures.

Beans are used in many family recipes, such as chili.

Beans are almost only used for food consumption. It takes some processing for beans to become feed for animals, so it is mainly eaten by humans for protein.

Beans are eaten for the protein in them.