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Pulse Crops and Crop Rotation Benefits for a Cereal Crop

Battle River Research Group . 2008. Alberta Pulse Growers and the Environmentally Sustainable Agriculture Initiatives Program


Project objectives were to demonstrate the benefitsof including pulse crops in a crop rota-tion, compared to a rotation including wheat and canola only. Three associations received funding for this project; Battle River Research Group (BRRG). Gateway Research Organiza-tion (GRO), and Smoky Applied Research and Demonstration Association (SARDA). In 2007, project locations were near Ryley (BRRG), Westlock (GRO), and Falher (SARDA). Cooper field peas, Snowbird fababeans, and Roundup Ready canola were grown. Crop yields were below average at the Ryley site, above averageat Westlock, and average at the Falher site. Soil tests in the fall showed that less nitrogen fertilizer was recommended in the field pea stubble compared to canola or fababean stubble at the Ryley and Westlock sites, while no such differences were observed at the Falher site. In 2008, the GRO location had to be terminated as clubroot was found in the adjoining field. At the Ryley and Falher sites, Harvest wheat was grown in all plots. The plots were split into four fertility regimes; 0, 20, 40, and 60 lbs/acre of nitrogen applied at seeding. The soil probe data in late June and at flowering showed higher nutrient flow in the field pea stubble at Ryley and confirmed the results from the fall 2007 soil tests. At Ryley, wheat crop growth was visually better after field pea. Wheat economics were positive for this rotation at both sites. Wheat yield and nutrient flow data did not show significant effects of previous crop at Falher, even though there was trend in favour of pulse crops. Some individual treatments showed a significant wheat yield advantage in the pea and fababean stubble. This study confirmed many of the benefits that field peas havein a crop rotation.