Fababean - Production and Management

Field Selection

Fababeans are well adapted to clay or clay loam soils with good moisture, providing surface drainage is effective. Fababeans are very sensitive to certain herbicide residues.

Certain herbicides are residual in soil to varying degrees and under a range of field conditions. Examples include products that contain atrazine, clopyralid (Lontrel, Curtail), ethametsulfuron (Edge), flucarbazone (Everest) and metsulfuron methyl (Ally).

To determine the factors affecting the persistence of each product and for specific recropping intervals, refer to the current Manitoba Agriculture, Food & Rural Initiatives Guide to Field Crop Protection.

Variety Information

Performance Testing

Seeding Fababean


Fababeans should be seeded early in the growing season. A long growing season is required to optimize yield. Depending on variety, days to maturity range from 94 to 102. Yield will usually be reduced if fababeans are seeded after the third week in May.


150-180 lb/acre to achieve a plant population of 4-5 plants/ft2. Seeding rate will vary with seed size and germination. Seed costs are a significant expenditure when considering this crop.

Circumstances requiring heavier seeding rates include large seed size, low germination, late seeding, abundant moisture, deep seeding, rough seed bed and high weed pressure.

Seeding Depth

1.5 to 3 inches. Seed should be sown to moisture. Increase seeding depth with droughty soils. Seeding at a uniform depth should result in uniform emergence and maturity. Emergence is slow due to large seed size and deep seeding.

Fertilizer Recommendations For Fababean


For specific recommendations on fertilizer rates, have your soil tested. To maximize the nitrogen fixation ability of fababeans, seed should be inoculated. If soil analysis is not available, a general recommendation is as follows:

Nitrogen (N): Nitrogen is not recommended. Inoculate at seeding with appropriate rhizobia.
Phosphate (P 2O 5): Apply phosphate at 30-40 lb/acre as a sideband or 20 lb/acre with the seed.
Potassium (K 2O): On sandy textured or organic soils, apply potassium at rates of 30-60 lb/acre.
Sulphur (S): Apply sulphate sulphur at 20 lb/acre on well-drained soils and grey luvisol (grey wooded) soils. Sulphur deficiency may occur in many soils and in any area of the province. A soil test is recommended to establish the available sulphur status of fields.

Further information on Soil Fertility Guide

Weed Control

Fababeans do not compete well with weeds during the establishment period. Broadleaf herbicide options are limited; therefore, sowing into a relatively clean field is important.


Aphids and lygus bugs can damage fababeans. Lygus bugs can cause hull perforations in fababeans, and 1% is the upper limit of perforated damage acceptable for fababeans to be graded No. 1 Canada by the Canadian Grain Commission.

Diseases Affecting Fababean

Ascochyta blight causes bean discolouration and shrinking. Look for tan leaf spots, reddish-brown stem spots and sunken tan to black spots on pods. Use disease-free seed. Botrytis is characterized by reddish-brown spots on leaves, stems and pods that range from small dots to large lesions. Sclerotinia is much less damaging, compared with canola or sunflower crops. Use a one-in-four-year crop rotation between susceptible crops.

Also refer to :

For information on varietal differences to disease susceptibility consult Seed Manitoba.

Harvesting Fababean


Swathing is recommended, as fababeans require a 2-3 week dry-down period once swathed. Fababeans should be swathed at 35-45 per cent seed moisture content, which occurs when lower leaves drop and lower pods turn dark, or in the first week of September, whichever comes first. The lower dark pods make up 10-15 per cent of the pods on the plant. Fababeans should be harvested at 18-20 per cent seed moisture. Crops cut 7-10 days before the first fall frost will likely have no seed damage.


Use slow cylinder speed (300 rpm) with a wide concave clearance, and lots of air. Operate combine unloading auger at low rpm speeds.


Fababeans can safely be stored at 16 per cent seed moisture content. When combined tough (greater than 16 per cent moisture), fababeans should be aerated to 16 per cent seed moisture content. Do not exceed 32° C drying temperatures.

For specific information on:

  • seed treatments and other pesticides, refer to the current Manitoba Agriculture, Food & Rural Initiatives Guide to Field Crop Protection.
  • integrated management of weeds, crop pests and diseases, refer to Manitoba Agriculture, Food & Rural Initiatives Field Scouting Guide.
  • optimizing fertilizer use, refer to Manitoba Agriculture, Food & Rural Initiatives Soil Fertility Guide.
  • making varietal choices based on agronomic characteristics, refer to the current Seed Manitoba.