The term “pulses” refers to legumes that are grown for grain in typical agricultural crop rotations and include peas, lentils, soybeans and faba beans. Pulse crops have not been extensively grown in Northeastern Alberta, but the acres seeded to pulses is expanding throughout the province and, with it, increased marketing options.
The addition of pulses to a crop rotation can have many benefits. Pulses are a legume and have the ability to fix nitrogen, thus reducing input costs and improving soil health. The crop is typically seeded early and can be harvested early, leading to a distribution of work when growing multiple crops. Pulses can also help break disease cycles in a crop rotation.
Regional Variety Trials
Variety selection is a key aspect to any cropping system and with new varieties available each year, current and comprehensive data on established, new and emerging varieties is essential to producers. The regional variety trials have been grown in the Lakeland since 1991 with each variety tested for three years. The information gathered from these trials is important to producers first, to aid in crop variety selection and, second, to improve economic returns.
High input costs, including fertilizer, has sparked producer interest in intercropping – the growing of two crops at the same time as a mixture in one field. Of particular interest is utilizing intercropping to improve multiple aspects of pea and canola agronomy.