Pulling, Windrowing and Combining: General Description

Larger-seeded beans and beans planted in wide rows are usually pulled and placed in windrows at harvest. Pulling refers to cutting the plants 3-5 cm (1.2-2.0 in.) below the soil surface and merging several of the planted rows into a single swath or windrow. Beans are pulled when 90% of pods have matured and turned “buckskin brown.” To prevent pod drop and shattering losses, pull beans early in the morning when the plants are tough and damp with dew. Beans are harvested later the same day with an edible bean or conventional combine equipped with a windrow pick-up attachment. Since prolonged exposure of the mature crop to moisture will result in reduced quality, harvest the crop as soon as possible after pulling.

This specialized harvesting is required to meet quality standards set by the market for larger-seeded bean types. Under good conditions, seed losses of 3%–5% are normal during harvest (e.g., 1% loss pulling and windrowing, 1% at combine pick-up, and 1%–2% cleaning and threshing).

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