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Idaho dry bean growers are harvesting early this year

Dry bean harvest in Idaho is about two weeks ahead of normal and growers anticipate average to above average yields and quality.
Sean Ellis

Capital Press

Published on September 14, 2015 1:06PM

Dry beans are sorted for quality at Treasure Valley Seed Co.’s production facility in Homedale, Idaho, Sept. 4. Idaho dry bean harvest is significantly ahead of normal this year and growers are reporting average to above-average quality and yields.

Sean Ellis/Capital Press

Dry beans are sorted for quality at Treasure Valley Seed Co.’s production facility in Homedale, Idaho, Sept. 4. Idaho dry bean harvest is significantly ahead of normal this year and growers are reporting average to above-average quality and yields.


WILDER, Idaho — Idaho’s dry bean harvest is well ahead of normal.

“It’s probably the furthest along we’ve been on this date in the last 10 or 15 years,” said Treasure Valley Seed Co. Production Manager Don Tolmie. “We’re really cooking.”

Bean harvest in Southwestern Idaho typically wraps up during the second or third week of October but it could be virtually done by the first of October this season, Tolmie said.

Dry bean harvest here seldom starts before mid-August but it began in July this year, he said.

A lot of farmers who were concerned about having an adequate water supply this year took advantage of mild weather to get their bean crop in the ground early, Tolmie said.

“Everybody got their beans in pretty early because (they were) concerned about having enough water to get through (the season),” he said.

Parma grower Mike Goodson has already wrapped up his bean harvest.

“Bean harvest was ... surprisingly early this year,” he said. “The weather gave us a window to plant early and we had good summer weather.”

He and several other growers attributed the early harvest to the favorable weather that allowed beans to be planted early.

“We had a mild winter and everybody got in their fields early,” said Dana Rasmussen, a farmer in Paul in southcentral Idaho. The early planting start was followed by warm temperatures that allowed bean plants to mature rapidly, he added, “and everything took off like crazy.”

Bean plants are maturing fast and look good, said John Dean of Idaho Seed Bean Co. in southcentral Idaho. However, he’s concerned about the number of blank spots he’s seen in some pods that haven’t been thrashed yet.

“Everything in the field really looks good, except when you open the pods, you do see a lot of blank spots,” he said. “I’m a little concerned that yields may not be as high as first appearance makes you think.”

A nine-day stretch of 100-degree days early in the season caused some heat stress to bean plants but the damage was minimal because it occurred outside of bloom set for most growers, Goodson said.

“I think overall, this year’s crop will be above average as far as yields and quality goes,” Tolmie said. “It’s probably one of the best crops we’ve had in the last three or four years.”

According to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, planted dry bean acres in Idaho totaled 60,000 this year, up from 51,000 in 2014.

Pinto acres in Idaho increased from 19,000 acres last year to 25,000 acres in 2015, small red acreage increased from 8,000 to 10,000 and blacks increased from 1,400 acres to 3,500 acres.



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