Developing new dry bean varieties in Manitoba

Feb 28, 2024

Manitoba’s seeded acres for dry beans are climbing and that has researchers focusing their efforts on improving yields.

Three varieties have been registered since 2009, including AAC Scotty, AAC Portage and Carman Black, and the exclusive rights of the varieties have been granted to Canterra Seeds Ltd. for marketing.

In 2021, 193,300 acres were seeded in the province, producing 109,436 tonnes of dry beans and generating $129 million in farm cash receipts. In 2022, farm cash receipt for dry beans was $122 million.

Researchers are also investigating early maturity, resistance to common bacterial blight, anthracnose, root rot and white mould, and improved seed quality.

Dry bean breeding and research has been taking place at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) have been funded by Manitoba Pulse and Soybean Growers (MPSG) and the Pulse Science Clusters.

The breeding objectives at AAFC Morden have focused on understanding basic genetics and variety improvement for dry bean resistance to diseases and abiotic stresses like extreme moisture conditions remains a priority.

Breeding activities have focused on major bean market classes, including pinto, navy and black beans.

Other minor bean types like small red, Great Northern, yellow, and pink occupy low acreages and the variety replacement process is generally very slow.

These breeding and research efforts have responded to changes in production trends, such as demand for more upright growth for direct harvest and later maturity for higher yield potential.

To date, there have been 13 breeding lines or germplasm for registration by the Prairie Recommending Committee for Pulse and Special Crops (PRCPSC) of the Prairie Grain Development Committee (PGDC). Those materials are being used in crosses for further variety development.

Within AAFC, once a breeding line is released, the commercialization is taken over by the Office of Intellectual Property and Commercialization (OIPC). Calls for proposals are posted annually at OIPC and interested companies submit their proposals for adopting and marketing specific varieties.

The breeders assist with pedigreed seed production in Idaho, where its dry and hot environment ensures the production of high-quality seeds free from major diseases like common bacterial blight.

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