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Field Beans

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Beans are grown mainly for their protein rich seed. The plant enrichs its protein content by utilising bacteria in the root nodules to "fix" atmospheric nitrogen. When the roots decay, the nitrogen becomes available to the following crop as a fertilizer. The bean plant has a strongly developed tap root that reaches deep into the soil. This adds organic matter to the subsoil and improves its structure. Field beans grown in the UK are different from Navy beans - the source of baked beans. Winter crops - sown late autumn are higher yielding but lower quality. Spring crops - sown January are more likely to suffer from drought. They are usually grown as one year in a six year crop rotation � preceeding winter wheat, which benefits from the higher soil nitrogen. Between 110 and 170,000 hectares are grown each year, yielding 3.75 tonnes per hectare. Most of crop is used for stock feed. Pictured near Old Warden Bedfordshire late August 2005 - just before harvest.

22nd Aug 2005 by Diane Earl

Biology, Geography, Science

Key Stages:
Foundation, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

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