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Agronomy Journal Abstract -

Effect of Plant Arrangements and Densities on Yields of Dry Beans1


This article in AJ

  1. Vol. 71 No. 3, p. 419-424
    Received: June 12, 1978

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  1. E. A. Kueneman,
  2. R. F. Sandsted,
  3. D. H. Wallace,
  4. A. Bravo and
  5. H. C. Wien2



Dry beans, Phaseolus vulgaris L., are commonly sown in wide rows (75 to 90 cm) because many of the mechanical planters and cultivars in use were designed or adjusted for maize (Zea mays L.) culture. More importantly, effective herbicides for weed control and machinery for harvesting beans grown in narrow rows have not been available until recently. New developments in herbicides and prospects of more flexible harvesting machinery being marketed warrant investigations to determine yield responses of dry beans to plant spacings.

Eleven field experiments were conducted in New York State from 1966 to 1977 to determine effects of plant arrangements and densities on yields of dry beans. These experiments were at Aurora, N.Y., on soils of type Glossoboric hapludalfs, or at Ithaca, N.Y., on either Dystic flurentic entrochrepts or Typic dystrochrepts. Between row spacing effects were evaluated in nine experiments; narrow rows conditioned significantly higher (7% to 48%) yields in seven of the nine experiments. At a given density, plants in more equidistant arrangements significantly outyielded those in more rectangular arrangements. For example, plants spaced at 25✕25 cm yielded more than those at 76✕8 cm by 13%, plants spaced at 20✕20 cm yielded more than those at 76✕5 cm by 12% and yields averaged across five genotypes at 30✕10 cm were 48% larger than those at 60✕5 cm.

Results of an on-farm trial indicated that difficulty in harvesting beans grown in narrow rows is a major constraint to adoption by farmers of narrow-row culture. Suggestions for further research include: 1) modification of bean pullers or direct harvesters to accommodate beans grown in narrow rows; 3) determination of the yield advantage associated with alternating between several narrow rows and a wide row to enable passage of a tractor through the field for the purpose of cultivating, spraying, and harvesting; 3) selection of bean cultivars that will maximize the yield advantage of narrow-row culture.

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