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Faba Bean Fertility

  • faba bean is an annual legume that fits well into cereal crop rotations as it fixes a large amount of nitrogen that is released to succeeding crops
  • faba bean helps decrease cereal diseases – faba bean crops that are kept grass and cereal-free break the root disease life cycle for diseases such as take-all
  • faba bean production allows growers to control competitive grassy weeds that are difficult to control in cereal crops – new grass-selective herbicides can be used on faba bean
  • faba bean is an alternative crop to pea and lentil (where soils and growing conditions are suitable)
  • a balanced soil fertility program is needed for optimum yields
  • faba bean will respond to added nutrients when soil tests indicate low to medium levels – soil tests aid in developing a sound fertilizer management program

Nitrogen (N)

  • faba bean is a legume and capable of fixing its own nitrogen needs from the air ** when the seed is inoculated with the correct rhizobium bacteria, most of the total nitrogen in the plant will come from N fixation
  • use an inoculant specially formulated for faba bean
  • use of additional nitrogen, other than that which comes with other fertilizer elements such as 11-51-0, is not recommended
  • ensure the field is low in available N (less than 20 lb. N/ac., 0 to 24 inch depth) or the crop may not mature properly
  • to allow for best N fixation, avoid fields manured in the past two years

Phosphorus (P2O5)

  • phosphorus is required in relatively large amounts
  • a soil test is recommended to determine optimum phosphate fertilizer rates
  • when using narrow openers, seed-placed phosphate (P2O5) should not exceed 35 lb. P2O5/ac. (higher rates should be banded before planting or side banded at time of planting)

Potassium (K2O)

  • potassium levels in soil are usually adequate in most faba bean growing areas, so potassium is not usually required
  • faba bean is a high user of potassium
  • if soil test levels are less than 300 lb./ac., follow the soil test recommendations

Sulphur (S)

  • sulphur is required for optimum yields, but is normally not limited on most Brown, Dark Brown or Thin Black soils
  • lower soil sulphur levels occur more frequently on Black and Grey wooded soil types
  • soil test to a depth of 24 inches to determine if a sulphur fertilizer is required
  • if soil sulphur levels are low, add replacement amounts of sulphur each year – when annual additions are made, the sulphur can be in the elemental form (very little elemental sulphur is available to plants in the year of application)
  • if soil test sulphur levels are less than 20 lb./ac., follow recommendations from the soil test report

Micronutrients

  • faba bean crops require a supply of all the essential micronutrients: boron (B), chlorine (Cl), copper (Cu), iron (Fe), manganese (Mn), molybdenum (Mo) and zinc (Zn)
  • if a micronutrient deficiency is suspected, a soil test should be done, and if levels are low, a test strip should be tried and evaluated before treating the whole field
  • there is a lack of information on micronutrient deficiencies in faba bean