Why Should You Grow Pulse Crops?
Ok, so what are they???
Whether you’ve never grown pulses or haven’t grown them in a while, we’ve got 10 good reasons why you should think about growing pulses:
- Pulses reduce your input costs. Pulses fix their own nitrogen, so there’s no need for the added cost of nitrogen for your crop.
- Pulses spread your workload. The growing season for pulse crops differs somewhat from that of other crops, in some cases allowing you to seed and harvest earlier or later than other crops.
- Pulses give you diversified marketing options. You can grow pulses for export or domestic use for the human consumption, animal feed, or fractionation markets.
- Pulses break disease cycles in your field. A four-year crop rotation that incorporates pulses can reduce incidences of disease in your fields.
- Pulses provide a second-year yield boost. Studies have shown that higher yields and quality of canola (15-96 per cent increase in yield) and cereals (41-52 per cent increase in barley yields, 20-47 per cent increase in wheat yields) can be seen in the year following pulse crops.
- Pulses grow in a variety of production systems. You have a lot of options when it comes to growing pulses, as they can be seeded with a variety of equipment and grow in both conventional and zero till systems under irrigation or on dryland.
- Pulses are profitable. Prices for pulse crops are very competitive with other crop types, and reduced input costs help contribute to a healthy bottom line.
- Pulses improve your soil tilth. Pulses make your soil healthier by putting nutrients, including nitrogen, back into the soil.
- Pulses promote soil conservation and sustainable farming practices. Crops like pulses that fix nitrogen can help reduce CO2 emissions from agriculture, and because of their water use efficiency and ability to grow in zero till systems, pulses may have a lower environmental footprint than other crop types.
- Pulses are an up-and-coming crop type that grows every year. Pulse acres in Alberta have hit the one million mark and continue to grow. With increased acres come increased marketing options, making pulses an up-and-coming crop type with plenty of room to grow.
Any way you look at it, pulses are surprisingly good for your farm.