Skip to Main navigation Skip to Left navigation Skip to Main content Skip to Footer

University of Minnesota Extension

Extension > Agriculture > Nutrient Management > Nutrient/Lime Guidelines > Fertilizer Recommendations for Agronomic Crops in Minnesota > Dried Edible Beans

Print Icon Email Icon Share Icon

Fertilizer Recommendations for Agronomic Crops in Minnesota

Dried Edible Beans

Daniel E. Kaiser, Extension Soil Scientist; John A. Lamb, Extension Soil Scientist; and Roger Eliason, Director, University of Minnesota Soil Testing Laboratory

Revised 2011

This crop is important in the rotations for farm enterprises in Central, West-Central, and Northwest Minnesota. Fertilizer suggestions are adjusted for growing situations. The suggestions that are appropriate for non-irrigated fine-textured soils may not be appropriate for irrigated sandy soils. The same reasoning applies for the opposite situation. Fertilizer guidelines for Minnesota are summarized in the paragraphs and tables that follow.

subsoil map

Figure 1. The fall soil nitrate test should be used for nitrogen recommendations in the counties that are shaded.


Optimum yields of this crop depend on efficient use of nitrogen (N) fertilizers. Guidelines for N use can be based on the results of a soil NO3--N test or the consideration of the combination of expected yield, previous crop, and soil organic matter content. The soil NO3--N test is appropriate for use in Western Minnesota (See Figure 1). The soil NO3--N is not recommended for sandy soils even though these soils may be in Western Minnesota.

Nrec = (0.05) (EY) — STN(0-24 in.) — NPc


EY = expected yield (lb./acre)
STN = nitrate-nitrogen (NO3--N) measured to a depth of 24 in. (lb./acre)
Npc = amount of N supplied by the previous legume crop (lb./acre).
These N credits are summarized in Table 1.

Table 1. Nitrogen credits for various legume crops that might precede the edible bean crop in the rotation. Use these credits when the soil nitrate test is used.

Legume Crop 1st Year Nitrogen Credit
  lb. N/acre
  Harvested alfalfa:  
    4 or more plants/ft2 70
    2 to 3 plants/ft2 50
    1 or fewer plans/ft2 20
  Red clover 35

The N fertilizer guidelines for situations where the soil NO3--N test is not used are summarized in Table 2. These suggestions are appropriate for edible bean production on fine-textured soils. When grown on sandy soils under irrigation, a standard guideline of 120 lb. N per acre is used. If, on sandy soils, the edible beans follow alfalfa, a N credit of 70 lb. N per acre for the alfalfa crop is suggested.

Table 2. Nitrogen guidelines for edible bean grown on non-irrigated fine-textured soil and a soil NO3--N test is not used.

  Expected Yield (lb./acre)
Crop Grown Last Year Organic Matter Level* 1401-1900 1901-2400 2401-2900 2901 +
  Alfalfa (4+ plants ft2) Low
med high
  Alfalfa (2 to 3 plants/ft2) Low
med high


  Group1 Crops Low
med high
  Group 2 Crops Low
med high

* low = less than 3.0%; medium and high = 3.0% or more

Crops in Group 1:

Alsike clover, birdsfoot trefoil, grass/legume hay, grass legume pasture, fallow, and red clover.

Crops in Group 2

Barley, buckwheat, canola, corn, grass hay, grass pasture, oat, potato, rye, sorghum-sudan, sugar beet, sunflower, sweet corn, triticale, and wheat.

Because of the high potential for diseases, if edible bean should follow soybeans, edible bean, peas, and other crops of edible bean, these crops are not considered as previous crops in the rotation.

Timing of the nitrogen application is an important consideration for edible bean production. In order to keep damage from white mold to a minimum, it’s important to keep the canopy open as much as possible. The canopy may be closed at flowering if all of the N fertilizer is applied before planting. Therefore, split applications of fertilizer N are suggested. This is especially true for sandy soils. Research results show that delayed applications of fertilizer N do not reduce yields. Therefore, two applications of fertilizer N are suggested. The first application can be made approximately two weeks after planting. The second application can be made as late as is practical for field equipment. The second application should be timed so that this equipment does not damage the crop.

Phosphate and Potash

Current phosphate guidelines are summarized in Table 3. The guideline for potash use is in Table 4. The guidelines in these tables are for both broadcast and banded applications. There is no research to suggest that one placement is more efficient than the other. Recent research suggests that these immobile nutrients, when applied in a band near the seed at planting, produce a substantial increase in yield. Banded applications are an excellent option when suggested rates are low.

Table 3. Phosphate fertilizer guidelines for edible bean production.

    Phosphorus (P) Soil Test, ppm *
Bray: 0-5 6-10 11-15 16-20 21 +
Olsen: 0-3 4-7 8-11 12-15 16 +
lb./acre   — P2O5 to apply (lb./acre) —
1400-1900   35 25 15 0 0
1901-2400   45 30 20 10 0
2401-2900   55 40 25 10 0
2901 +   60 45 25 10 0

* Use one of the following equations if a phosphate guideline for a specific soil test and a specific expected yield is desired.

P2O5 rec = [0.0231 — (0.0011) (Bray P, ppm)] (Expected Yield)
P2O5 rec =[0.0231 — (0.0014) (Olsen P, ppm)] (Expected Yield)

Table 4. Potash fertilizer guidelines for edible bean production.

Potassium (K) Soil Test, ppm *
0-40 40-80 80-120 120-160 160 +
lb./acre — K2O to apply (lb./acre) —
1400-1900 45 15 0 0 0
1901-2400 55 20 0 0 0
2401-2900 65 25 0 0 0
2901 + 75 30 0 0 0

* Use the following equation if a potash guideline for a specific soil test and a specific expected yield is desired.

K2O rec = [0.0346 — (0.00042) (Soil Test K, ppm)] (Expected Yield)


Past research with the edible bean crop has indicated that zinc (Zn) is the only micronutrient that may be needed in a fertilizer program. Zinc suggestions for both starter and broadcast application are listed in Table 5.

Research has shown that there are no other nutrients needed in a fertilizer program.

CAUTION! Do not apply any fertilizer in contact with the seed at planting.

Table 5. Zinc suggestions for edible bean production in Minnesota.

Zinc Soil Test * Zinc to Apply
  Broadcast Starter
ppm — lb./acre —
0.0-0.25 10 2
0.26-0.50 10 2
0.50-0.75 5 1
0.76-1.00 0 0
1.01 + 0 0

* Zinc extracted by the DTPA procedure.

  • © Regents of the University of Minnesota. All rights reserved.
  • The University of Minnesota is an equal opportunity educator and employer. Privacy