What it takes to grow beans

Saturday August 1 2020

Members of Sossolya Bwatafa Farmers Group

Members of Sossolya Bwatafa Farmers Group harvest beans in their demonstration garden. Photo/Michael J Ssali 

By Shabibah Nakirigya

Beans are grown across all the regions in Uganda. Good bean production starts with the right seeds, which must be certified for best harvest. Below find a summary on managing the crop.

Fertiliser
At planting, apply 200 kilogrammes of DAP per acre. The fertiliser should be applied in the planting hole or furrow and mixed thoroughly with the soil before placing the seed.

Apply 100 kilogrammes CAN per acre when top dressing initially at the first trifoliate leaf stage and a gain at the onset of flowering.

Application of foliar feed at fortnight intervals from the fourth week post–planting to mid–poding phase also promotes higher yields.

Use of farmyard manure is recommended especially where soils are low in organic matter. It should be applied in planting furrows or holes and mixed well with soil before planting at a rate of 10 tonnes per acre.

Weed control
Timely weeding is absolutely essential. The first weeding should be done 2–3 weeks after emergence, followed by a second weeding which must also be two to three weeks later.

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Care should be taken to avoid damaging the shallow roots especially during the first weeding. Also, the crop should not be weeded at flowering time and when the field is wet to avoid flower shedding, spread of diseases and soil compaction.
Use of herbicides may be economically feasible for commercial bean growers.

Herbicides that can be used in bean production include, Lasso 4 EC (Alachor), Stomp (Pendimethalin) and Basagran (Bentazone).

Irrigation
Regular water supply is essential as moisture affects yields. Water stress during flowering reduces yields.
It is advisable to grow beans on ridges and use furrow irrigation in heavy soils since beans are very sensitive to water logging.

It is recommended to apply 35mm of water per week at planting to 10 days post emergence and 50mm/week thereafter to flowering stage.

Harvesting
For dry seed bean, the pods should be left on the plants until when about 75 per cent dry.
They can then be harvested and dried to about 12 per cent moisture content before storage.

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