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Describing legume success stories in the EU: part 2

Pub - Topic: Report, Crop

During the Legvalue project partners pursued 31 different cropping systems in practice. 

In part 2 the download  .pdf document summarises 13 different successful legume cropping systems in Europe, each described in a single page.

The pages:

1-Altamura Lentil, a PGI consortium renew the tradition - ITALY

At the beginning of the 2000s, a group of farmers, supported and coordinated by scientists, processors and policymakers, restarted to grow lentil in its former area, with the aim to establish a more structured chain but also to increase farmers’ income and diversification of products. Huge efforts were put also in communication campaigns oriented to valorize the characteristics of the product and link farmers with food companies and consumers. Their efforts resulted in the recognition by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture of the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) “Lenticchia di Altamura” in 2016 and, by the EU in December 2017.

2-Grain legumes, valorize crop rotation in organic multifunctional farm - ITALY

Here, grain legumes are grown to develop a virtuous economy by seeking to maximise positive externalities on the farm. They allow the production of wheat without inputs; they also improve soil quality (higher OM and better C/N ratio) and water dynamics. Moreover, local production of legumes is an interesting criterion to attract consumers, local shop, and restaurants.

3-Benefits of growing grain legumes in the crop rotation in Alto Alentejo - PORTUGAL

In Portugal, in the region of Elvas, several farmers grow legumes on their farms for the benefits they bring: (i) fertilisation management, (ii) weed and disease control in the rotation, (iii) soil quality improvement. In addition, their cultivation is similar to that of cereals, and they can be sown in a variety of soil.

4-Faba bean, successful weed control in advanced crop rotations - LITHUANIA

On a 280 ha farm, several legumes including faba beans were introduced as a lever for weed control in a long rotation where herbicide use is minimised. Standard ploughing has been replaced by strip-tilling and the use of harrows is favoured. Concerning legumes, in addition to increasing competition with weeds, they improve the yield of the following crops. At the same time, a long rotation reduces diseases and pests in the faba bean crop, resulting in good quality grain and good gross margins.

5-Peas, from crop in rotation to organic seeds - LITHUANIA

On this organic farm, peas are grown in association with camelina sativa in order to sell the pea harvest as seed at an attractive price in organic farming. The camelina serves as a stake for the pea to make harvesting easier. In the rotation, the pea crop (i) improves the fertility (ii) the structure of the soil and (iii) the yields of the following crops. In addition, it diversifies the rotation and breaks the cycle of diseases and pests.

6-Peas, direct drill in the crop rotation for properly seeds - LITHUANIA

To improve field pea productivity, direct drill is used in the rotation. It maintains soil health and improves soil structure. For the field pea crop, it increases yields of following crops and improves nutrient availability and use in the rotation, thus reducing mineral fertilisers.

7-Field pea, source for soil fertility and structure in crop rotations - LITHUANIA

As a good precedent for his cereals and rapeseed, the farmer chose to plant a field pea crop. Easy to cultivate, it can fix atmospheric nitrogen in the crop and, at harvest, to restore it to the soil for the following crops. The use of direct seeding improves the quality of the soil, and pea harvests are easy to sell.

8-Spring faba beans in Rhineland, raising up a value chain - GERMANY

By introducing a faba bean, the farmer diversifies his rotation and thus promotes biodiversity on his farm and the reduction of the use of phytosanitary products. It is a crop with multiple benefits on the farm: it improves soil quality, increases cereal yields by following and breaking the cycle of diseases in the rotation. It is also a non-GMO source of feed for animals on the farm. The cultivation of this legume is made economically viable through consumer awareness of the local origin of the product.

9-Becoming independent of imports in pig feeding by own soya - GERMANY

The farmer grows soybeans on his farm in order to gain more autonomy in protein production for his livestock activity. Thus, it lengthens and diversifies a crop rotation rich in winter cereals. Moreover, the soybean crop represents a good precedent: it breaks the cycle of diseases and pests, improves soil structure and fertility, and facilitates the work on the following crops.

10-Different legumes for better soil fertility on a large farm -  GERMANY

On this large farm, legumes (lucerne and faba bean) are planted with the aim of improving soil quality: their N2 fixation capacity increases fertility and the impact of their roots on the first horizons improves soil structure. They represent good precedents for cereals sown afterwards and are used directly on the farm to feed the animals. In addition, lucerne offers security on dry soils and reduces weed development in the rotation.

11-Increasing added value through on-farm utilisation of faba bean -  GERMANY

Here, faba bean production can be used as pig feed, a more favourable outlet for the farmer than sale on the agricultural trade. Combined with reduced tillage, the cultivation of faba bean is simplified and it allows to spread the workload peaks in the rotation. In addition, it lengthens the rotation and helps to control black grass on the farm.

12-Increase biodiversity through intercropping in organic farming -  GERMANY

In order to increase biodiversity on this organic farm, the choice was made to use legumes crops in intercropping with cereals. The grain production is used for the sheep herd. In the rotation, this association allows to enrich the nitrogen stocks in the soil for the following crops. It covers the soil well and thus reduces weed development. The complementarities between the species in the mixture reduce the risk of crop failure and improve yield stability.

13-Faba beans, protein production for food ingredients - THE NETHERLANDS

On this farm of 25 ha of arable crops, the faba bean is a source of protein, used in the production of food and which allows the introduction of nitrogen into the crop rotation. It introduces diversification into the rotation and increases biodiversity on the farm by attracting several insects to the plot. In addition, it is easy to weed and can be harvested early, making it possible to consider the establishment of a catch crop before the next crop.

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The Leg Value project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 727672.

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