The University of Nebraska Dry Bean Breeding Program has announced the development of two new dry edible bean varieties, one a great northern bean suitable for direct harvest and the other a slow-darkening pinto bean variety with longer shelf life.
Both new varieties could be available for planting in growers’ fields as early as 2022 or 2023.
The great northern dry bean cultivar White Pearl is adapted for western Nebraska growing conditions, upright plant architecture, high yield and enhanced resistance to bean rust, common bacterial blight and bean common mosaic virus. White Pearl’s upright plant architecture makes it suitable for direct harvest, which is a growing trend in the Nebraska dry bean industry. In 2020, 20-25% of the planted area was direct harvested.
Nebraska leads all states in the production of great northern beans, accounting for 75% of the 2020 total U.S. great northern production.
The new pinto variety, Wildcat, is the first slow-darkening pinto bean cultivar released by the UNL Agricultural Research Division, Dry Bean Breeding Program. Wildcat, tested as NE2-17-18, was derived from the single cross of NE2-12-16/SDIP2 made in the winter of 2013 in the greenhouse at the Panhandle Center.
Nebraska ranks second in pinto bean production in the United States, accounting for 13.3% of the 2020 total production. Recently, the U.S. pinto bean industry began shifting toward the development and production of slow-darkening pinto beans because of their longer shelf life and improved seed quality.
For both new varieties, seed is being increased in Idaho, and might be available for planting in growers’ fields in either 2022 or 2023. The Husker Genetics Foundation Seed Program will maintain breeder and foundation seed of White Pearl and Wildcat. White Pearl and Wildcat are available for licensing, and NUtech will be managing the agreements and their compliance.