The fababeans pictured above belong to Brett Casavant, who farms near Tisdale in north-eastern Saskatchewan.
2014 was Casavant’s first year growing fababeans. He grew a low-tannin variety called taboar. Casavant says they yielded around 70 bushels per acre, including dockage. He says they might wash out to the low to mid 60s once dockage is accounted for.
“It is nice to find an alternative to peas, which don’t take the moisture very well, but are very good for the soil. And nice to break up our crop rotation,” says Casavant. Casavant found the fababeans fared well through a soggy June and proved easy to harvest. And he’s looking forward to the nitrogen payback next year.
But fababeans may not be a perfect fit for Casavant’s region.
“The problem for north-east Saskatchewan with (fababeans) is that they’re a long-season crop. They’re not like a pea, a short-season crop. So you’ve got to get them in early, in my opinion. And you’ve got to hope (there’s) not an early frost.”
Frost nailed Casavant’s fababeans this year. He hasn’t heard the final word on grading yet, but he thinks the crop will be feed. And he’s not sure how well he’ll be able to market them if they do grade feed.
Casavant says he’s looking at Snowdrops, another low-tannin variety, for next year. Snowdrops are rated 104 days to maturity, compared to 107 for taboars. Snowbirds are also rated at 104 days, according to a University of Saskatchewan presentation on the Saskatchewan Pulse Growers website.
Whether Casavant does seed fababeans again remains to be seen. He says he may try them again, but he’s not sure he’d seed “a huge amount” of acres to fababeans. He’d need to put some serious thought into it first and “I’m not sure where I stand on that,” he says.