Description and Adaptation

Faba bean has a strong tap root with an average rooting depth of 0.6 metres (24 inches). Faba bean has compound leaves with two to six oval shaped leaflets, and flowers can be pure white, purple, or pink. A flower cluster may produce one to six pods.The young pods are green and large, up to 10 cm (4 inches) long, and 1-2 cm (0.4 to 0.8 inches) wide. As the pod matures, it turns brown or black. Pods contain two to eight oblong/oval seeds which weigh between 400-700 mg. Flowering occurs in 45 to 60 days and maturity in 110 to 130 days. The bushel weight of faba bean is 60 pounds. 

Faba bean is best adapted to the moist areas of Saskatchewan and does best under relatively cool growing conditions. Hot, dry spells result in wilting and may reduce seed set. The best adaptation area for faba bean is where growing season rainfall is around 25 cm (10 inches) such as the Parkland region.

Pulse crop adaptation trials conducted at seven locations in Saskatchewan showed best faba bean yields were obtained in cool and/or wet locations. On average, the crop used 39 cm (15 inches) of water. Faba bean plots yielded almost 6.7 tonnes per hectare (100 bushels per acre) under ideal growing conditions.

Faba bean should be grown with caution in both the Brown soil zones and on dry, light-textured soils, unless irrigation is available. Crop Insurance coverage of dryland faba bean excludes coverage in the Brown and much of the Dark Brown soil zone.

Faba bean grows best on well-drained loam or clay soils of pH 6.5 to 9.0. On light, sandy soils faba bean yield can suffer as a result of drought stress in early summer. Faba bean is more tolerant of saturated soils than other pulses, it does not perform well under these conditions. Faba bean does not perform well on saline soils.

Faba bean production can be successful under both minimum and no-till soil management.