Harvesting beans© Tim Scrivener

The first bean grower to hit a 10t/ha yield will win a prize worth £5,000 and get to visit France as part of an effort to push crop yields higher by 2020.

The bean yield challenge is being issued by the Processors and Growers Research Organisation (PGRO) to growers over the next five years as it believes current varieties have the genetic potential to reach this yield target.

Average bean yields are estimated at 4.5-5.0t/ha, says PGRO chief executive Roger Vickers, although in the company’s own trials, yields have hit as much as 9t/ha.

“We have the right varieties, now we need to get the right agronomy,” he told a briefing on Tuesday (24 November).

See also: Why treating winter beans more like wheat will boost yields

In summer 2015, spring bean yields rose 20% and winter beans by 11% in an excellent year for beans, helped by relatively cool weather with frequent and adequate amounts of rainfall.

Mr Vickers says a generation ago the 10t wheat club helped drive up yields for that crop, and the PGRO believes it is now time to do the same for beans.

The prize will be for the winner and three friends or relatives to go on a four-night trip to France to look at pulse research and visit growers.

In addition, a prize trophy will be awarded annually for the highest verified yield for each crop year, starting with the 2015-2016 season.

Further details can be found on the PGRO website.