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New Dry Bean Varieties Announced at Regional Meetings

Earlier this month, Michigan Dry Bean Commission hosted their annual regional production and outlook meetings throughout the state. The week of meetings yielded great crowds and information shared from members, sales agronomists and MSU researchers.

One of the biggest takeaways from the meeting was MSU dry bean breeder Dr. Jim Kelly announced the introduction of four new dry bean varieties that will hit the market in the coming years. According to Scott Bales MSU Dry Bean Specialist with Michigan Dry Bean Commission, he’s the most excited about a new black bean.

“It’s number B-18504—it will hopefully go by the name of Adam when it’s commercially available after the late dry bean leader from Michigan State,” said Bales. “It prides a lot of yield potential for Michigan as well as disease resistance.”

Bales said it’s exciting to see the future of dry bean production with this new development as well as the other beans Dr. Kelly mentioned that will be added into the mix.

“He’s also working some other market classes too such as a Great Northern, a pinto, as well as a yellow bean,” he said. “It will really add some superior quality attributes as well as increased yield compared to our commercial standards today.”

The new yellow bean variety should be especially promising. Like black beans, yellow beans are known for their canning ability, but they struggle to keep a vibrant color. According to Bales, that shouldn’t be a problem with the new variety, and it could open doors to other markets.

“Color has been difficult to maintain and our Michigan weather conditions doesn’t always give us those hot, dry days that allow for a really bright yellow color,” said Bales. “But these new varieties seem to color very well, even in our conditions, so hopefully it might open up a few more markets for Michigan growers.”

Although it’s too early to tell how many acres of dry beans might get planted in Michigan this year, Bales said there’s a lot of excitement with Michigan’s dry bean industry.

“We are excited about what they’re seeing,” he said. “We had some challenges around the country as well as in Mexico as far as production this past year, so it might offer some opportunities for us going into 2020.”

The 2020 Dry Bean and Sugar Beet Symposium will be held January 21 at the Horizons Conference Center in Saginaw.