Stealing the spotlight in the field and kitchen

January 20, 2021

January 20, 2021 - Plant breeders are constantly working to develop new bean varieties to meet the needs and desires of the food industry. But not everyone wants the same thing.

Many consumers desire heirloom-type beans, which have great culinary quality and are visually appealing. On the other hand, farmers desire beans with better
The bean varieties that farmers want to grow are usually different than the varieties consumers want to purchase. Until now.


The new varieties,
Journal of Plant Registrations, a publication of the
"Our new beans combine the best of both worlds for farmers and consumers," says Parker. "They combine the better qualities of heirloom-type beans with the better qualities of commercial types."

Heirloom-type beans often represent older bean types that are known for culinary qualities and seed patterns. These are highly desired by consumers. Heirloom types often fetch a higher market value than other beans.

Commercial dry beans often have higher yields, shorter maturity times, and improved disease resistance. While they possess qualities desirable to producers, they don't fetch as high of a market price compared to their heirloom counterparts.

"Our goal was to improve field characteristics of the heirloom beans without losing culinary characteristics," said Parker. "We have an interest in higher-value varieties and want them to grow well."

Farmers growing the heirloom dry beans often sell the beans to health-conscious consumers or high-end restaurants. This sale often leads to a higher price point. However, these beans are prone to disease and don't perform well in the field.

"We know that existing heirloom beans don't usually do well in terms of yield," said Parker. "Breeding beans for high yields is a major improvement for farmers. The new varieties are high-yielding, heat-tolerant, and are also resistant to bean common mosaic virus."

Incorporating disease resistance was essential when developing the new bean varieties. Bean common mosaic virus is a well-known problem that is hard to control in the field.

"The only real effective means to handle the virus is through genetic resistance," explains Parker.

The new varieties, such as UC Sunrise, satisfy the need for farmers to have a bean that is disease resistant while also yielding 50% more than heirloom types. In addition, the beans do not take as long to grow between planting and harvest.

Commercial and heirloom beans come from the same species, but they are in different market classes. The heirloom varieties are bred with intimate knowledge of what tastes good and what works well in the kitchen.

"In recent decades, there has been less attention paid to consumer desires during the bean breeding process," says Parker. "There are more layers between the breeder and the consumer. We are trying to make sure to keep consumers in mind while incorporating qualities that are beneficial to the farmer."

With consumer desires in mind, the research team used cross-pollination to breed plants with key characteristics they selected. As Parker and the team continued the breeding process, they performed taste tests to ensure the beans met the level of culinary quality expected of an heirloom-type bean, in terms of flavor and visual appeal.
-end-
This research was supported by the Clif Bar Family Foundation, Lundberg Family Farms, the United States Department of Agriculture Organic Agriculture Research & Extension Initiative, and the United States Department of Agriculture Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program.

American Society of Agronomy, Soil Science Society of America, Crop Science Society of America: Collectively, these Societies represent more than 12,000 individual members around the world. Members are researchers and professionals in the areas of growing our world's food supply while protecting our environment. Together we work toward solutions to advance scientific knowledge in the areas of agronomy, crop science, and soil science.

Twitter: @ASA_CSSA_SSSA & @SSSA_soils | Instagram: @sustainablefoodsupply & @iheartsoil

American Society of Agronomy

Related Farmers Desire Beans Articles from Brightsurf:

Spilling the beans on coffee's true identity
People worldwide want their coffee to be both satisfying and reasonably priced.

Tepary beans -- a versatile and sustainable native crop
This drought and heat tolerant crop can provide nutrition, even when grown in harsh environments.

Golden ticket: Researchers examine what consumers desire in chocolate products
Gold foil, ornate labels and an intriguing backstory are product characteristics highly desired by premium chocolate consumers, according to research conducted by food scientists in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences.

Broad beans versus soybeans as feedstuff for dual-purpose chickens
Practices of the poultry industry have raised ethical and ecological concerns: ethical concerns include culling day-old male chicks of egg-laying breeds; ecological concerns include importing large quantities of soybeans for feedstuff.

Site of male sexual desire uncovered in brain
The locus of male sexual desire has been uncovered in specific regions of brain tissue where a key gene named aromatase is present, reports a new study in mice.

Desire to be in a group leads to harsher judgment of others
In a time where political affiliations can feel like they're leading to tribal warfare, a research team from Duke has found that the desire to be part of a group is what makes some of us more likely to discriminate against people outside our groups, even in non-political settings.

Keeping pinto beans away from the dark side
New slow-darkening pinto bean varieties show benefits for farmers and consumers

A diet of high-iron beans improves health of anemic women in Rwanda
A new study involving women of reproductive age in Rwanda, where 19% of that demographic is anemic, showed that a diet including high-iron beans can improve iron status and physical performance relatively quickly.

Healthy climate news: Fava beans could replace soy
The end of soy as a protein substitute? Researchers at the University of Copenhagen have found a way to make protein powder using fava beans -- a far more climate-friendly alternative.

The desire for information: Blissful ignorance or painful truth?
A new study looks closely at why many people are so likely to avoid useful information -- even if it benefits their health.

Read More: Farmers Desire Beans News and Farmers Desire Beans Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.