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The benefits of legume-based crop rotations.

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Slides presented during "How legume science is enabling industry "

Webinar 6: European legumes in transition 4th May 2021

"The benefits of legume-based crop rotations." 

Presented by :  Dr Moritz Reckling - Leibniz Centre for Agricultural Landscape Research (ZALF) - Researcher, Crop scientist and agrocologist.

Legume crops provide benefits beyond the year of their production and occupy a varying share in cropping sequences. An integrated assessment of legumes in crop rotations including agronomic, environmental, and economic factors is needed to evaluate their true impacts. The multi-actor H2020 project Legumes Translated provided the ideal setting for assessing the role of legumes in crop rotations of real farm situations. The project is based on a range of legume-experienced actors all over Europe representing value chains with soybean, pea, faba bean, lupin and forages for food and feed. Here we discuss brand new results on the impacts of crop rotations with legumes and compare them with a reference without legumes using a multi-criteria assessment framework. On average, crop rotations with legumes reduced nitrous oxide emissions by 21 % and 26 % and N fertilizer use by 26 % and 45 % in arable and forage systems, respectively. While protein output was increased by 13% and 5%, energy output was reduced by 10% and 9% in arable and forage systems. Gross margins were variable, site specific and clearly increased when considering the legume feed value, subsidies, and CO2 taxes in different scenarios. This presentation explores opportunities and challenges for integrating legumes in EU crop rotations considering the views of local actors.

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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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