Ed -- My comment on Resnik beans might need some explaining. The area I live is fairly rolling farmland with small creek bottoms every 5-8mi. If you remember the pre "Freedom to Farm" days; this area was mostly winter wheat,a little alfalfa,some grain sorghum and almost no soybeans. After the "Freedom to Farm" bill passed the farming in our county changed rapidly. Wheat gave up a huge chunk of acres to soybeans and later on corn, and the trend seems to be here to stay.
Up until that time the few acres of beans that were raised were only on prime river bottom ground.
There are lots of fields being planted to beans now that 20 years ago we wouldn't have even considered beans an option.We raise most of our beans on very rolling ground with some pretty steep slopes and lots of terraces;The soil is a very tight clay over limestone rock. At places where erosion has been excessive the limestone is showing thru. It was into this environment that a whole generation of farmers started raising beans with almost no local expertise available..We were still all conventional till.
We raised a lot of 15-25bu/a beans in those years;round up ready was unheard of,weedy fields were common;clean fields were the envy of neighbors.... but we were still ahead of the game because after a year or two of beans we could go back to continuous wheat and yields were improved greatly. It was in this era that we started planting Resnik beans; most everyone was planting early group 3's......If beans were raised only as a break from wheat it made sense;plant a group 3 May 1 and harvest by first week in Sept and right back to wheat!
Things have changed much since then: we have been 100% no till for almost 20 years and cover crop rye ahead of beans going into our 3rd year. Bean maturities have steadily gotten longer;4.7 - 4.9 is the norm and I'm guessing we may soon see 5's.Our yields have not only improved but also seem to be less erratic then they used to be. We used to plant group 3's in early May; now we plant late 4's in mid June. The improved consistency has earned beans a lot of respect they didn't used to have. Beans used to be what was planted as a rotation when cheat grass got out of control in continuous wheat;now they are considered a regular crop.
Don't get shook up thinking we are going to swamp the markets anytime soon; our weather is a huge determinate in our production as well as the marginal ground that so much of our bean production is on. The harvest we just finished was a typical year ; my best beans on a 85a farm consisting of about 60% river bottom and 40% hilly upland made 47 bu/a which I considered very good.The 140 acre field around my house consisting of mostly steep slopes, some are quite eroded, made 36bu/a ; which I also consider very good for soil type.
I have farmed this field for 20+ years and probably had beans on it 5-6 different times. This last year's yield would be one of the best, if not the best on this field. My lowest yields were in the 25 - 28 bu/a which would have been somewhat better had I planted 2-3 weeks later. This was the poorest ground I farm;first year I'm farming it. It's been abused something awful;I would expect that 5 years of high residue no till, cover crops,lime and added soil fertility will make a marked difference.
Back to the Resnik beans; I have often wondered if we grew them today;considering all we have learned in the last 20 years, if we might be surprised what they would do if given a second chance. Maybe I'm starting to get sentimental about the good old days....
Boy, isn't that the truth!