Machinery and Equipment Guide

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Machinery and equipment required for snap bean production will vary by a grower’s preferred production method and operation size. The following discussion shares basic machinery and equipment needs for snap bean production. Depending on a grower’s operation size, expertise and previous machinery investments, the grower must determine whether to purchase and operate the equipment, engage a custom service provider or possibly rent and operate the necessary equipment.

Machinery and Equipment Needs

During the land preparation stage, the selected equipment operations must create a firm, level seedbed that lacks large clods, and they should also address any soil compaction issues in the planting area. One strategy to diminish plow plan development involves annually choosing a different plowing depth. Planting sites should be worked to 6- to 7-inch depths. Possible land preparation equipment operations include using a chisel plow, disk harrow, disk bed and field cultivator.

To ensure that seed can be planted with the correct spacing and at the correct depth, planting equipment should be properly calibrated. Possible planting equipment could use plates, belts or a vacuum. For small operations, a walk-behind seeder may be sufficient. A vacuum planter offers an alternative for other operations. For bush beans, constructing raised beds, covering them in black plastic and using drip irrigation may optimize yields and result in a cleaner bean harvest. The machinery and equipment table below assumes that the producer hasn’t adopted raised beds and plastic mulch but does use drip irrigation.

For fertilizer, banded applications appear most efficient based on some research. While making banded fertilizer applications, place fertilizer 2 inches from the seed sides and 3 inches deeper than the seed.

To maintain snap bean fields during the growing season, producers may consider machinery operations for controlling weeds, pests and diseases. Plowing and disking operations used during land preparation may help to manage weed populations. If producers choose mechanical weed control and cultivation, then avoid cultivating too deeply during the growing season. Cultivation may disturb snap bean root systems. An air blast sprayer can be used to apply chemicals during the growing season. Alternatively, producers may elect to use a hydraulic boom sprayer or an air-curtain boom sprayer.

Harvesting snap beans may rely on hand labor, or mechanical harvesters are another option. Mechanical harvesting generally concentrates among operations that grow snap beans for processing or that grow at least five acres of fresh-market snap beans. To mechanically harvest snap beans, options include one-row harvesters or multi-row harvesters, which tend to be expensive. If harvesting snap beans by hand, then the costs associated with human harvest labor may represent an obstacle for snap bean growers.

Cooling snap beans can involve a forced-air cooling unit or hydro-cooler. By disking snap bean fields after harvest, producers can control weed populations from becoming established, accelerate plant residue breakdown and minimize disease carryover. Planting a cover crop after harvest would address soil erosion and support soil organic matter.

Equipment and Machinery Needs for Snap Bean Production



Chisel plow


Disk harrow


Disk bed


Field cultivator


Vacuum planter


Boom sprayer


Cold storage


Drip irrigation


Wagon or trailer



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Hawkins, Gary L., George E. Boyhan, Stanley Culpepper, Esendugue Greg Fonsah, Kerry A. Harrison, William C. Hurst, David B. Langston, Changying Li, Daniel D MacLean, Alton N Sparks and Paul E. Sumner. 2013. Commercial Snap Bean Production in Georgia. University of Georgia. Athens, GA 30602.

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