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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

A Bold New Bean for the Salad Days of Summer / July 14, 1998 / News from the USDA Agricultural Research Service

Burke -  new pinto bean

A Bold New Bean for the Salad Days of Summer

By Jan Suszkiw
July 14, 1998

A Bold New Bean for the Salad Days of Summer

A new pinto bean cultivar called Burke should give farmers added insurance against losing a bumper crop to yield-robbing diseases. Agricultural Research Service and Washington State University scientists at Prosser bred the new cultivar with a potent genetic package conferring high levels of resistance to harmful fungi and viruses that plague the crop.

Burke, developed by ARS scientists Matt Silbernagel, J. Rennie Stavely, Phillip Miklas and WSU colleague An N. Hang, debuts this summer for production in Washington, Idaho and other western states, as well as those like Colorado in the intermountain region.

One crop-destroying menace that Burke resists is the rust fungus, Uromyces appendiculatus. Unchecked, it causes a rust-colored blight on the leaves of susceptible bean plants. Severe outbreaks can wipe out a crop. But the rust fungus can't get a firm hold on Burke, so it doesn't cause serious disease. A sprawling root system also helps Burke withstand damage caused by Phythium and Fusarium fungi.

Burke also resists the bean common mosaic virus (BCMV), bean common necrosis virus (BCNV) and curly top virus, which plagues the Pacific Northwest seed stock industry. Mosaic virus outbreaks can cause losses of up to 60 percent in commercial bean crops. Burke's resistance seems to stem from the viruses' inability to replicate inside the plant.

Burke grows as a semi-upright plant that matures in 89 to 95 days. It produces large, firm, tan-colored seed with good cooking and canning properties. It also boasts a high seed yield, outperforming eight competing pinto bean lines in field tests at 40 different locations. It also outperformed the industry standards Othello and Sierra in Colorado test plots.

You can read more about Burke in Agricultural Research, ARS' monthly publication, or on the World Wide Web at:

Scientific Contact: Phillip Miklas, USDA-ARS Vegetable and Forage Crops Production Research Unit, Prosser, Wash. (509) 786-9258, fax (509) 786-9277,

Last Modified: 5/16/2014
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