Fava beans: A new multipurpose crop for New England

Project Overview

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2014: $14,995.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2016
Grant Recipient: University of Massachusetts Amherst
Region: Northeast
State: Massachusetts
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:
Masoud Hashemi
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Annual Reports


  • Vegetables: beans


  • Crop Production: cover crops, double cropping
  • Production Systems: general crop production

    Proposal abstract:

    Fava beans is a cool season legume crop with high nutrition values and has the potential to be grown as a new cash crop in Northeastern U.S. It can be seeded as early as mid-March and harvested in time for growing another cash crop. Fava beans also can be grown after harvesting spring planted cash crop and be used as cover crop. Fava beans have the ability to fix atmospheric nitrogen under various environmental conditions, acts as a break crop in crop rotation, and provide feed to pollinators and beneficial insects. We propose to demonstrate the feasibility of growing fava beans in Massachusetts and determine basic information suitable to Massachusetts condition including, varieties, time of planting, seeding rate, fertility requirement and to demonstrate the feasibility of transplanting Fava Beans to ensure its early planting. The nitrogen contribution of Fava Beans to subsequent each crop will be assessed. Fava Beans is known to have high concentration of L-Dopa which is currently used for remediation of Parkinson disease. The concentration and accumulation trend of L-Dopa in various parts of Fava Beans including roots, stems, terminal buds and seeds will be determined. A guide for growers of Fava Beans that covers major agronomic practices will be published. Also, a cost-income analysis to determine the profitability of double cropping fava beans with another cash crop will be performed. Educational and outreach include web-based factsheets and videos posted on the Center for Agriculture, Food, and Environment University of Massachusetts.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    The main objective of this study is to collect and disseminate technical information to support growers in New England to include Fava Beans in their cropping system. This project will evaluate and promote the multiple benefits of growing fava beans as a new cash crop for New England.


    We will:


    (1) Demonstrate the feasibility of growing fava beans and its use as multi-purpose crop


    (2) Provide basic information and agronomic practices including varieties, time of planting, method of planting and seeding rate suitable to Massachusetts climate condition


    (3)Feasibility of transplanting fava beans as an alternative method to direct seeding to ensure early planting


    (4) Assess contribution of nitrogen from fava beans to succeeding cash crop


    (5) Determining amount and distribution of L-dopa in plant parts during the growing season


    (6) Perform cost-income analysis of growing multi-purpose fava beans

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.