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Harvest Tips for Frozen Dry Edible Beans

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Duane R. Berglund, NDSU Extension Agronomist

Pinto and navy beans are very sensitive to frost (30- to 32-degree range). Earlier pods with yellow to brown color are sufficiently mature to escape damage. Late green pods or flowers are easily damaged by frost. Green beans will shrivel but should be left in the field until dry to separate them from mature beans. 

Harvest at the maximum moisture permissible. This will be around 17 percent to 18 percent moisture for navy beans and 14 percent to16 percent for pinto beans. When beans are drier, you get losses from less weight harvested/acre and from combine damage to the beans. 

If possible, keep frost-damaged or late-maturing beans separate from better quality beans. This may mean harvesting low-frosted places in a field separately. The high areas in a field probably are drier and will crack badly if allowed to stand until the later beans are ready for harvest.