Faba bean (Vicia faba var. minor) is an ancient small-seeded relative of the Chinese broad bean (V. faba var. major). There are two types of faba beans grown in Western Canada including tannin and low-or near zero-tannin types. Large-seeded tannin types are suited for human consumption markets, with Egypt being the main importing country. The smaller low-tannin types are used mainly for livestock feed domestically. Faba beans have also been used as green manure cover crops or plow downs due to their high nitrogen fixation ability. For use as cover crops either type works, as long as the seed size is small to keep seed costs down.
Faba beans are mainly grown in the wetter areas of Saskatchewan as per Saskatchewan Crop Insurance Corporation data (Figure 1). Acreage of faba beans in Western Canada has been relatively small but in 2012 acreage began to increase (Figure 2), with Saskatchewan and Alberta having the majority of acres.
Figure 1. Acreage of faba beans in Saskatchewan in 2016
Figure 2. Seed acres of faba beans in Western Canada (to 2016)