Kent grower hits 8t/ha yield with winter bean crop

Cool summer temperatures helped Richard and David Budd grow a high-yielding winter bean crop of 8t/ha on their Kent farm, coming top in the first YEN bean competition.

This was the top-yielding crop of 20 entries in the YEN competition, organised by the Processors and Growers Research Organisation, as the cool temperatures helped pollination and pod filling.

“The cool temperatures are needed for pod filling, and one crop nearly touched a yield of 10t/ha,” says Richard from Stevens Farm, Hawkhurst, near Tunbridge Wells.

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Very high temperatures of 30-35C in late June and early July can affect pod filling ability and therefore yield.

“We produced a good, even, thick crop with a long flowering period, which allowed time for bees and pollination,” he adds.

For the winning crop, they pushed up the seed rate to 40-45 seeds/sq m to produce a good, thick crop that had a long flowering period of up to six weeks, to allow for good pollination.

Mr Budd was also achieved an unofficial record of 7.19t/ha for his oilseed rape crop in 2018.

The farm also grows 100ha of apples, and the bee hives for the apples are simply moved over to the beans in mid-May, when pollination of the apples are completed.

The crop protection costs for the beans total £90/ha, and this includes a pre-emergence herbicide application and two fungicides to achieve chocolate spot control.

YEN bean crop at Stevens Farm

Variety Wizard
Soil Heavy weald clay 
Drilling date mid-October
Drilling rate 40-45 seed/sq m
Yield 8.0t/ha at 15% moisture, 59% of potential yield