thirty two bean genotypes (phaseolus vulgaris l.) were evaluated in lages/sc, brazil, on the influence of seven characters of agronomic importance on the production of grains per unit of area. the experiment, in randomized blocks with four repetitions, was driven in the off season period in the agricultural year of 1995/96. this work aimed to estimate the intensity the association between the primary and secondary components of grain yield. the first group of variables (primary) was constituted by the number of grains per pod, number of pods per plant and the weight of a thousand grains. the second group (secondary) consisted of number of days from emergency to flowering, number of days from emergency to harvesting point, plant stature and the first pod insertion point. for the analysis of canonical correlations, the importance of secondary agronomic characters was evident in the traits number of pods per plant and grains per pod and also the influence of both on the final grain yield. therefore, the coefficients of canonical correlations indicate that, in programs bean genetic improvement programs, to increase the production of grains one should select plants with larger number of pods per plant in order to obtain plants with higher stature and longer cycle.