Reducing Risk Associated with Organic Snap Bean Production in Wisconsin
Wisconsin currently ranks number one in the production of processing snap beans, with 44% of the
nation’s crop. Production and processing of organic snap beans in Wisconsin offer a significant opportunity for value added economic impact to over 1,400 certified growers and a very significant opportunity for the processing industry. In Wisconsin, organic snap bean production for processing currently meets less than one-third of current demand.
The objective of this research was to determine the best management practices to reduce the risk associated with large-scale organic snap bean production in Wisconsin. In spite of price incentives, it is especially difficult for processors to contract sufficient acres to meet demand due to the high risk and low yields associated with larger-scale organic production. The principle limiting factors to organic production of snap beans include:
• root rot disease
• seed corn maggot
• nitrogen management
Results indicate that use of the root rot resistant cultivar ‘UW3’ combined with a seed treatment of Entrust (both of which are commercially available) and composted poultry manure (which is easily accessible and cost efficient) would provide the optimal results, and are identified as the strategies to be used to achieve the best management practices for organic snap bean production. Using these practices, Wisconsin organic producers have the opportunity to successfully produce snap beans on a small or large scale while achieving yields comparable to conventional producers (4.36 tons/acre) (USDA, 2012). A second year of data collection is planned (summer 2012) to confirm these results.
Presence of seed corn maggot damage in field. The seedling on the left emerged unaffected, while the seedling on the right experienced damage from seed corn maggot delaying germination and decreasing vigor.