Courtesy of Don Tolmie
CALDWELL, Idaho — Dry bean industry leaders believe a newly released yellow bean variety could eventually become a common sight in many fields across the state once it proves itself.
The bean, called Patron, was developed by Oregon State University bean breeder Jim Myers at the urging of the Idaho Bean Commission, which helped fund the project.
Idaho is the nation’s leader in dry bean seed production. About 70 percent of the beans grown in the state are for seed.
Currently, only about 2 percent of the dry beans grown in Idaho are yellow varieties, but that could change with the introduction of Patron, said IBC board member Don Tolmie, production manager for Treasure Valley Seed Co.
Patron is the only yellow bean variety with “off-the-charts” resistance to bean common mosaic virus, Tolmie said.
“I’ve got pretty high hopes that this Patron will become a pretty universal dry bean in the state of Idaho,” he said.
Idaho’s dry bean industry pushed for the new bean because of the growing popularity of yellow beans in the U.S. But the industry also hopes to sell yellow bean seed in Latin America, where yellows, also called peruano beans, are popular and fetch a premium.
The yellow bean varieties grown in Mexico and other Latin American nations have no mosaic virus resistance, Myers said.
“Compared to the traditional Mexican varieties, this is a quantum leap,” he said.
OSU has issued an invitation for bean dealers in Idaho to negotiate for an exclusive license to produce the new variety.
Myers said the bean has resistance to all pathogens of mosaic virus and was developed to grow well in this part of the country.
“It’s very well adapted to this region (and) the yield’s been excellent with this variety,” he said.
Myers also said Patron is an earlier season variety compared with other yellows.
Tolmie, who has grown Patron for OSU, said the new variety still has to prove itself, but so far it has performed well in southwestern Idaho.
It’s still a little early to make hard claims about how well the bean grows, “but we’ve had some pretty good luck with it agronomically,” Tolmie said.
“It’s got to get into the market and circulate so people can make sure it fits the needs they require,” he said. “But right now we’re pretty optimistic.”
Caldwell farmer Lynn Whitteg started growing Patron for Treasure Valley Seed Co. this year. He echoed Tolmie’s comments about being too early to say for certain how it performs.
But, he said, “I think (it’s) going to be a pretty good bean.”
John Dean, president of Idaho Seed Bean Co., which grew a few Patron seed plots for OSU two years ago, said it appears to grow well in southcentral Idaho.
“It’s an earlier variety than the standard yellow varieties we’ve had,” he said. “It yields well for a shorter season variety and the color seems to be good. I’m glad they released it.”