Green beans are a relatively new crop here, and questions over best management remain. The MicroFarm Discussion Group selected a few options this season. Some may require following up with more investigations.
Plant arrangement and population
Tasman Harvesters Director, Gary Cutts returned from a trip to Europe where he saw most green beans are planted on 15” or 381mm rows. Gary was very keen to try the narrower row spacing. He has noticed smaller canopy crops that do not fully fill the allocated row space are difficult to harvest well.
This season we have planted one MicroFarm paddock at 15” or 381mm spacing, increasing the in-row spacing to keep the population near the norm. At half the usual spacing for crops such as process sweetcorn or maize, fitting tyres into the mix is a challenge.
McCain Foods Field Officer, Ben Watson was interested to know what plant population might be optimal. He set up four rates from 300,000 to 370,000 plants per hectare.
Ballance AgriNutrients’ Mark Redshaw has used double rate phosphorous in one half and no phosphorous in the other. Other nutrients are the same, at rates determined following soil testing at Hill Laboratories.
Scott Marillier and Vaughan Redshaw at Fruitfed Supplies selected a standard herbicide programme for most of the area. Haydn of Greville Groundspraying applied 600mL/ha BASF Frontier and 500mL/ha Magister as a pre-emergent spray. This was followed by 3L/ha BASF Basagran (Bentazone) at two trifoliates.
In two half paddocks, they left out the pre-emergent, and applied 1.5 L/ha Basagran (bentazone) at cotyledon stage, then 3 L/ha at 2 trifoliates.
By the end of February the buried drip installed by ThinkWater had applied four 10mm irrigations. That was enough to keep just above stress point. In early March the crop justified 10mm applications every two days. We are seeing some bypass as the deeper soil shows increasing moisture. The outside rows planted are outside the area irrigated with drip. The differences are very evident.
HydroServices’ soil moisture monitoring showed the un-irrigated paddocks were stressed from early on. Funding constraints have prevented us getting the dream irrigation system so we started using our mini-gun, applying 35mm at the end of February. While adequate on pasture, it is not ideal for crops.
Irrigation has continued with a second round in early March applying another 35mm. Windy conditions at the start of the month affected application patterns, and some days we did not bother irrigating at all. View the edges of the paddocks to see the difference!
The Netafim dripline extends under the first part of the sweetcorn in paddock 3. Again, the difference between irrigated and unirrigated is extremely obvious.
More information on the main LandWISE website
Many thanks to:
Centre for Land and Water, ThinkWater, Netafim, HydroServices, McCain Foods,
Ballance AgriNutrients, BASF Crop Protection, FruitFed Supplies, Agronica NZ,
Nicolle Contracting, Te Mata Contractors, Drumpeel Farms, Greville Ground Spraying,
True Earth Organics, Tasman Harvesting, Plant & Food Research and Peracto Research for support with this work.