Coffee shop talk, at least, has many farmers considering growing some beans after beans to lower their input cost bill this spring.
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Crop rotation has its benefits, whether it's to get away from corn after corn or soybeans after soybeans. Purdue University amassed some pretty convincing data last year that corn after corn required more N and yielded less at the same time.
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Typical recommendations call for up to 30 pounds more N per acre in corn after corn vs. So what's the point? There's always the exception. In the Corn Illustrated plots in '08, in the high yield project trial, both hybrids were planted after soybeans, then planted after corn.
The corn stubble and soybeans stubble lay side by side. One hybrid outperformed the other in both cases. And in both cases, the yield was slightly higher for corn after corn than corn after soybeans. Dave Nanda, agronomist and plant breeder, plus president of Bird Hybrids, Tiffin, Ohio, tried to make sense out of the results.
One thing about doing research, he says, is that you have to be ready for the unexpected.
Not every experiment comes out as you expect it to. Sometimes that's how you learn new things, he adds.
Cooking Dried Beans
First and foremost, there was an abundance of nitrogen applied on this plot. Total nitrogen applied over the entire plot reached about pounds per acre. That was done because this was a high-yield plot where the goal was reaching maximum agronomic yield. The extra boost of N was applied to make sure that it was not a limiting factor.
There was no firing or other signs of N deficiency in any of these plots, either after corn or after soybeans.
Bean Soaking Methods
Since there was plenty of N, that removes a major factor that sometimes limits yields in corn after corn, Nanda observes. Often farmers don't bump the rate enough for corn after corn, if they bump it at all. But pounds per acre should be sufficient in either case at these yield levels. The top treatments in the plot topped out at bushels per acre.
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Beyond that, Nanda is less confident about what might have happened. The Hot Soak Method is the recommended method because it reduces cooking time and gas-producing compounds the most and it produces consistently tender beans. Place over medium heat; keep cooking water at a gentle simmer to prevent split skins. Since beans expand as they cook, add warm water periodically during the cooking process to keep the beans covered.
Stir beans occasionally throughout the cooking process to prevent sticking. Beans take 30 minutes to 2 hours to cook, depending on the variety. Beans should be tender but not mushy. Place beans in a large pot and add 10 cups of water for every 2 cups of beans. Pour cold water over beans to cover.
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Place beans in a large pot and add 6 cups of water for every 2 cups of beans. Heat to boiling and boil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Soak beans for 8 hours or overnight. Bring to boil and boil for an additional 2 to 3 minutes.
How Long are Dried Beans Good For?
Remove beans from heat, cover and let stand for 4 to 24 hours. Drain beans and discard soak water. NOTE: Cold water starts but does not complete the rehydration process so the beans will appear wrinkled after soaking. They will fully rehydrate during cooking.