To maximize the benefits of faba bean in your rotation, choose fields that have low nitrogen (N) levels. Fallow fields, or fields with failed crops from the previous season, may have high levels of available nitrogen. High available soil nitrogen levels (over 55 kg N/ha or 50 lb N/ac) inhibit nitrogen fixation since faba bean will preferentially use the soil nitrogen rather than fix nitrogen.
High moisture coupled with high soil N (commonly found on fallow fields) will produce excessive vegetative growth, reduce pod set and seed production, and delay maturity, especially for late-maturing varieties.
Faba bean is sensitive to some residual herbicides. Avoid seeding faba bean in fields with herbicide history. Refer to the current Saskatchewan Ministry of Agriculture (SMA), Guide to Crop Protection, regarding residual herbicide carryover and re-cropping restrictions.
Early seeding is very important as faba bean is a long season crop and early seeding generally results in higher yields. Seeding should take place once the average soil temperature, at depth of seeding, has reached 3-5°C. In Alberta, faba bean growers generally do not plant faba bean past May 7th, due to maturity concerns.
Germination occurs when soil temperatures reach 3-5°C. Upon seedling emergence, the faba bean cotyledons and seed coat remain below the soil surface. Faba bean seedlings can withstand some late spring frost. If the frost is severe enough to kill the main shoot, regrowth from buds at one of the nodes at or below the soil surface can occur, but this will delay maturity.
Seeding early also advances crop maturity, reducing the probability of flower abortion associated with high temperatures at flowering. Faba bean does not handle heat stress at flowering as well as pea.