PGRO has used the start of the UK pea harvest to underline the benefits of pulses in crop rotations.
“As the pea harvest gets under way, with bean harvest to follow, this is a good time to underline the numerous benefits from growing pulses,” said Roger Vickers, PGRO Chief Executive. “Some have a clear financial value, while others are equally valuable but have less measurable monetary benefits.”
These include the fixation of approximately 250kgs of N/ha. While significant amounts of this are used by the crop itself, the residue from a crop of beans is typically 50–75 kilos N/ha, worth around £60. Unlike any residual nitrogen from other non-leguminous crops, which is derived from paid-for N applied to the previous crop, this N is completely free.
PGRO also stresses that, ‘Spring-grown pulses in particular open up an extended window for cultural and stale seedbed techniques in the fight against blackgrass and other pernicious weeds. Pulses also widen the choice of chemistry available for blackgrass control, giving the grower an improved approach to the problem.’
Other benefits in the PGRO ‘top ten’ include spreading of farm workloads, slug control, soil health and compliance with CAP rules.