Dry Bean Harvest in the Nebraska Panhandle

Dry bean harvest underway in a field in western Nebraska
Figure 1. Dry bean harvest is well underway in the North Platte River Valley in western Nebraska. Nebraska is number one in Great Northern bean production, number two in Pinto bean and number three in Light Red Kidney bean production. (Photos by Gary Stone)

Dry Bean Harvest in the Nebraska Panhandle

Harvest of dry beans in the Nebraska Panhandle and eastern Wyoming has been going since the first week in September. Growers in both states in the North Platte Valley are experiencing lower yields this season. Several late hailstorms and the collapse of the Goshen / Gering-Ft Laramie irrigation canal tunnel can explain some of the yield reduction, but in areas that had sufficient moisture and no hail, yields are also down.

Dry bean harvest
Figure 2. This grower is using a Pickett specialty dry bean combine to harvest his Great Northern dry bean crop.
Dry bean harvest
Figure 3. The method for transferring the harvested dry bean crop to a truck is different from traditional combines.

Previous average yields were about 2,400 to 2,800 pounds per acre. This season’s yields are 1,600 to 2,000 pounds per acre. Weather has been good for harvest with warm days to dry the bean windrows and little wind and precipitation. Most growers should complete harvest by the first week in October.

John Thomas, Nebraska Extension crops educator, continues to work with growers with direct harvest of dry beans with on-farm research plots across the Panhandle. John will hold grower meetings later this winter to present his on-farm research findings.

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