Faba Beans

Faba Beans

Vicia faba

One of the oldest crops grown, a high source of protein in human diets, and important as a fodder and a forage crop for stock.

 

Faba beans are an erect, tall crop 1 - 2.5 m and have the ability to tiller. Depending on variety 1 - 3 tillers are common. The plant has a deep taproot with abundant of feeder roots which fix nitrogen to the soil. Flowering begins at 20 cm in height and grows in clusters of 3 - 8, with each flower cluster producing 1 - 5 pods. As the crop ripens,s it turns black, with the seed pods becoming ripe from the lowest and working up the stem to the top.

 

Pros

  • is a nitrogen-fixing plant
  •  a valuable component of the arable cropping rotation
  • excellent break crop enhances cereal yield decreases the occurrence of take-all
  • fits well into a sustainable cropping programme
  • stubble residue is a nutrition source for stock feed
  • have the potential to improve soil fertility and structure through the deep taproots and nitrogen-fixing ability of the crop
  • as a break crop in the rotation, faba beans allow for an alternative approach to disease, pest and weed management
  •  can tolerate mild winter frosts but the optimum growing temperature is 15 - 25oC
  • tolerates water logging and acid soil types better than other grain legumes
  • does best with soil pH ranging from neutral to alkaline pH of 7.0 to 9.0. the liming before establishment many be beneficial

 

Cons

  • the crop may suffer moisture stress in soils that dry quickly
  • flowers will abort if temperatures exceed 27°C  
  • sensitive to hot, dry conditions during podding and may require irrigation
  • little tolerance for compacted or impaired soils
  • sensitive to herbicide residue present in the ground at the establishment

Mixture

A valuable component of annual mixes which include herbs, legumes and grasses