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PHOTOS: U of M conducts research in Willmar area to aid Minnesota edible bean farmers

University of Minnesota research looking at samples of edible beans grown south of Willmar, and other locations across the state, will help determine nitrogen fertilizer recommendations for better yield and vigor of edible beans in Minnesota.

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University of Minnesota Department of Soil, Water, and Climate intern Gustavo Duprat of Brazil collects edible bean samples on a farm south of Willmar on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, for research on the nitrogen fertilizer rates for edible beans.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune
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WILLMAR — Cool fall temperatures made for the perfect morning Thursday in the midst of an expansive edible bean field south of Willmar as University of Minnesota Department of Soil, Water, and Climate researcher Darby Martin and intern Gustavo Duprat collected samples of beans that will one day be used to help the farmers of Minnesota.

The Department of Soil, Water, and Climate is within the university's College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences.

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University of Minnesota Department of Soil, Water, and Climate researcher Darby Martin shows a pod of edible beans. Martin and an intern were collecting samples for research Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022, south of Willmar.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

In what Martin called a nitrogen rate study, the pair of researchers collected beans from various plots on the farm, which they will then take back to the University of Minnesota campus in the Twin Cities to fully dry and test for vigor and yield and overall just how well they fared this season, depending on the varying rates of fertilizer applied to the different plots.

A native of Brazil, Duprat said he is currently learning how the Soil, Water, and Climate Department conducts its research and will take the knowledge back to his home country.

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University of Minnesota Department of Soil, Water, and Climate researcher Darby Martin prepares to bag a handful of edible beans harvested from a field south of Willmar on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2022.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

Information obtained from the research will later be made free to the public on the university's website, according to Martin.


"We use data to tweak fertilizer recommendations for farmers statewide," Martin said. "Everything is accessible to the public."

Martin added that he and Duprat collected samples from three additional sites near Willmar, and that there are a total of 91 nitrogen rate study sites throughout the state of Minnesota.

Macy Moore is an award-winning photojournalist at the West Central Tribune in Willmar, Minnesota.
She can be reached via email: mmoore@wctrib.com or phone: 320.214.4338.
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