Green beans do not enjoy extremes, so achieving maximum yields when you choose to grow this crop in South Africa can be a bit of a tall order. This is especially true of areas like the Highveld and Lowveld, where climatic conditions can be either a little too warm or a little too cold, depending on when you plant.
However, it can be a very lucrative crop on a commercial scale (and a versatile, tasty one on smaller scale) when you practice the right type of irrigation. In fact, irrigation is crucial when you grow green beans because the plants are made up of soft tissues that wilt very easily. Wilting leads to yield losses straight off the bat, so if you want to be successful in raising a green bean crop you’ll require access to sufficient water right throughout the growing season.
Here are a few more things you should know about irrigating green beans for maximum yields in South Africa:
Irrigation holds countless benefits for green bean growers
When green bean plants have an adequate water supply, growers can look forward to larger, more vigorous plant stands, a greater production of pods, larger pods that carry larger, stronger seeds, as well as a higher total yield or marketable mass.
It’s not just about nutrient delivery
South Africa’s harsh climate necessitates access to irrigation to cool down green bean plants over the hottest parts of the day. There are very few areas in which night-time irrigation is sufficient. The ideal set-up is one in which the grower can switch on irrigation in the middle of the day to cool down the plant itself.
It’s important to take soil type into account
Green beans are known for their shallow root system and short growth cycle, both of which make this crop very sensitive to moisture stress. The best type and frequency of irrigation to use for green bean production depends greatly on soil type.
In clay soils, too much moisture reduces oxygen content and reduces yields by a fair amount. Irrigate too often and roots will die, leaving the plant to wilt and the pods to falter in their growth. Soggy soil will also make harvesting more difficult, lowering profit margins overall. Sandy soils are not quite as finicky, but vigilant testing of soil moisture should still be practiced in order to ensure that your plants are getting enough water in these porous soils.
Sprinkler VS flood VS drip irrigation for green beans
Green beans do well with both sprinkler and flood irrigation. When water is in short supply, however, sprinkler irrigation holds a few clear benefits, especially in the time just before the beans are due to emerge. Sprinklers wet the soil surface, which makes it easy for cotyledon to penetrate the soil surface.
Commercial green bean growers also opt for drip irrigation in regions where water is particularly expensive because the precise application at each growth stage increases total yields. This, in turns, helps to pay off the initial costs of the infrastructure fairly easily over a couple of years. However, growers should bear in mind that drip irrigation systems can suffer from blockages and normally requires a large number of pipes.
There you have it – best-practice guidelines for irrigating green beans for maximum yield throughout the growing season in South Africa.
Would you like to find out more about green bean irrigation, as well as the irrigation services and solutions that Bekmar Irrigation offers? Get in touch with one of our knowledgeable consultants today for more information. Our team looks forward to discussing your requirements, as well as finding and providing an affordable, future-proof irrigation set-up that ticks all of your must-have boxes.