Break Crops – Beans

Quinns Grain Merchants have been promoting Beans in Ireland since the 1980’s. Quinns grain merchants source seed from Germinal Seeds, Goldcrop and Seedtech. Quinns give agronomy advice on the growing of the crop. Quinns also want to buy back the end product for exclusive use in our Animal Feed Mill in our Four Seasons Beef/Dairy/Sheep ration range.

Seedtech goldcrop Germinalseeds

Why grow spring beans?

  • Excellent break crop in cereal rotation
  • Profitable to grow (compares favourably to Spring Barley)
  • Relatively simple to grow
  • Cereal machinery can be used
  • Can help control difficult grass weeds in continuous cereal ground

The importance of Break Crops in a tillage rotation can’t be underestimated to maintain high yields in cereal crops. The end of the Sugar Beet Industry in Ireland in 2005 and subsequent removal of Sugar Beet from the tillage rotation has meant that Irish farmers are more and more reliant on crops like Oilseed Rape and feed Beans to maintain yields and thus profitability .These crops are profitable but they also provide yield increases of 15-20% in the following cereal crop.

The following practices are guidelines only and if you require any agronomic advice on the growing of beans please contact your local Quinns Technical Advisor.


Soil Type

Feed Beans perform best on medium to heavy soils with adequate moisture available. The moisture retention of the soil is important to retain and increase yield; for this reason Beans do not perform well on light soils in years of low rainfall.

Sowing date

As with all arable crops the sowing date of Spring Beans is important to achieve profitable yields. Where possible sow from the 1st of February to the 1st of March; research carried out by Teagasc has shown that any crops sown after the 15th of march have shown considerable reductions in yield.


As beans are legumes and fix nitrogen from the atmosphere they do not require any nitrogen.

The following table shows P & K application advice for Beans on Soil indexes 1-4 in kg/ha:

Soil Index Phosphorus Requirement P Potassium Requirement K
1 50 125
2 40 60
3 20 40
4 0 0

It is very important to have an up to date soil sample to ensure best results from any fertiliser application.

Beans have a high requirement for Lime and for optimum production require a pH of 7.

Weed Control

The main control of weeds in a Bean Crop is performed using residual products at the time of sowing so it is extremely important to get this practice right. Effectively you only get one chance at performing Broad Leaved Weed control in Beans so take any chance that presents itself. All residual products work best in a fine seedbed with some moisture present.

It is important to use Roundup/Glyphosate 360 before sowing for to reduce the overall population of perennial weeds. Nirvana is the main residual option for BLW control and should be used @ 3-4.5ltr/ha before the beans are within 13mm of the soil surface.


The Pea and bean weevil is the main threat to a Bean crop. The Bean Weevil feeds on Bean leaves, producing u shaped notches in leaves. If not controlled properly The Bean weevil can have a detrimental effect on yield significantly reducing root nodule formation and thus the crops ability to fix nitrogen. Choose a suitable insecticide to control the weevil.

Disease Control

Chocolate Spot is the main disease threat to the Bean Crop. It is important to control Chocolate Spot at the first signs of infection (usually at start of flowering or earlier in coastal areas). The main option is Signum @ 0.5kg/ha applied two weeks apart.