State's edible bean harvest gets off to fast start

Associated Press

EAST GRAND FORKS, Minn. -- Western Minnesota farmers are making swift progress on this year's bean crop.

At Farmer's Finest Bean Co. in East Grand Forks, the harvest was nearing the halfway point Sept. 10, said Doug Sprehe, Farmer's Finest research project leader.

"We did probably 180 trucks yesterday," Sprehe said. He said that's probably a record number to be unloaded in a day.

"I think everybody's pleased because this harvest has been a normal sequence of events -- wheat, beans, then beets. It's not going to be the overlap we've struggled with the past three years."


In previous years, rain delays caused frustrated some farmers who were struggling to get three different crops out of the field at the same time.

"A quick, fast harvest is great," said Tim Courneya, Northarvest Bean Growers Association executive vice president.

This year, the harvest weather has been so dry some farmers are hoping a little rain will raise the moisture content of their crop, Sprehe said. With too little moisture, the navy beans can crack and split.

However, the quality of the navies delivered so far to Farmer's Finest is "very good," Sprehe said. "The beans are nice and bright white. You don't have as much dirt smeared on them as you had in the past."

Minnesota and North Dakota farmers, in general, have also been pleasantly surprised by their bean yields. It will be smaller than last year's edible bean crop, but many farmers said it's still pretty good considering the hot, dry weather for most of the summer.

"They were happy because they were thinking things were going to be worse," Courneya said. "August was brutal."

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