The area of beans in the ground this year has fallen for the third year running, reports PGRO, with winter beans down by 30% and spring beans by 15%.

That means there’s a shortage of beans, notes Salvador Potter, who reports strong demand and good prices for November, as well as healthy export premiums.

“Beans are a good break crop,” he says. “They don’t need any nitrogen, they give a yield lift to the following crop and providing you get good autumn establishment, they will do well.”

Last year’s very dry conditions didn’t suit the crop and yields were disappointing, he reports. “But we’ve had plenty of moisture this year, so it’s a very different situation.”

Variety changes include the first appearance of Honey in 2012, a new winter bean with short, stiff straw and very good standing ability, explains his PGRO colleague Steven Belcher.

“At 92%, Honey is lower yielding than either Husky or Wizard,” he acknowledges. “But it has better standing ability than both of them and a high thousand seed weight.”

Husky, which is now fully recommended, is the highest yielding winter bean at 103%. “It’s a different type to Wizard, not as stiff and with longer straw. It has a standing ability of 4 and a straw shortness of 7.”

Like Wizard and Honey, Husky is a pale hilum type, making it suitable for the export market, he adds.

Otherwise, Clipper is back on the list in the black hilum category, for its tall, vigorous growth habit.