A search for an alternative to genetically modified soya beans has led to the first commercial plantings of a new bean crop in Canterbury. The aim is to provide another food for livestock, in particular poultry and pigs.
About 30 arable farmers have planted small blocks of fava beans this season.
The Foundation for Arable Research says it is the result of investigations into alternative sources of protein for livestock that started seven or eight years ago. A number of crops were evaluated.
Chief executive Nick Pyke says the main use of fava beans will be for pig and poultry feed.
If this year's plantings are successful, he says they will provide a useful new crop for arable farmers.