Panhandle Perspectives - December 26, 2017

Workshop on alternative pulse crops Jan. 17 at Bridgeport

Farmers in western Nebraska grow a number of pulse crops, grains that are harvested for their dry seed. Dry edible beans is the common example, which has long been a part of the crop rotation under irrigation.

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In recent years farmers have been planting increasing acres of other pulses such as field peas, chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), black-eyed peas (cowpeas), and soybeans.

Growing and marketing these alternative pulse crops is the focus of a Pulse Crop Workshop scheduled for Jan. 17, 2018, at Prairie Winds Community Center in Bridgeport. The workshop will cover field pea, black-eyed pea, chickpea, soybean and fenugreek.

A group of Nebraska Extension specialists and educators are working with regional representatives of pulse crop industries to organize the workshop. 

Farmers have expressed more interest in alternative pulse crops in recent years, according to Dipak Santra, Alternative Crops Breeding Specialist at the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center.

But Santra said growers want more information about which varieties are best adapted to western Nebraska; what are the best agronomic practices; which weeds, insects, and diseases might be threats; where they can deliver their harvest; and where the markets are headed for these crops.

“This is a chance for farmers to learn what options are available to them for growing pulse crops outside of dry edible beans, which could provide them a benefit in their production system,” according to Cody Creech, Dryland Cropping Systems Specialist at the Panhandle Center.

In addition to the recent expansion of field pea acres, Creech said, “There are some interesting possibilities with chickpea and soybean production in the near future that could be of value to Panhandle producers.”

More than anything, he said, the workshop will be an opportunity for producers to connect with industry representatives, interact with them, develop relationships, and hopefully have their questions answered. There will be a vendors’ area.

Sponsors include Nebraska Extension, with a grant from North Central SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension Program), and a number of partners from the regional pulse crop industry, including Pulse USA, Great Northern Ag, Jelinek Custom Cleaning, Prairie Sky Seed, Trinidad, and New Alliance.

The workshop is free to attend. Lunch and breaks will be provided so organizers do need to know how many people will be present. Attendees are asked to register by Jan. 12 by contacting the Cheyenne County Extension Office at Sidney. Either call the office at 308-254-4455 or email kdeboer1@unl.edu.

      Questions can also be directed to Santra at 970-397-9817.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the first presentation begins at 9 a.m. The topics and presenters include:

Variety trial of field pea, black-eye pea, and fenugreek (Dipak Santra, UNL Alternative Crops Breeding Specialist

Variety trial of chickpea (Carlos Urrea, UNL Dry Bean Breeding Specialist)

Variety trial of soybean (Cody Creech, UNL Dryland Cropping Systems Specialist)

Diseases of pea, chickpea, and black-eye pea (Bob Harveson, UNL Plant Pathologist.

Pea and Fenugreek for Human Health (Kaustav Majumdar, UNL Assistant Professor in Food Science)

Agronomy – planting date, plant population, weed management, and inoculation with Rhizobium (Cody Creech, UNL)

Water use by pea in rotation with wheat (Xin Qiao, UNL Water and Irrigation Management Specialist)

How pest and beneficial insects in wheat are affected by field peas vs. fallow rotation (Julie Peterson, UNL Extension Entomologist)

3-5 Minute Rapid-Fire Industry Talks (Brad Hertel, Meridian Seeds; Emily Paul, Pulse USA; Shannah Plehal, Great Northern Ag; Courtney Schuler, Trinidad)

Marketing pea in Nebraska (Jon Sperl, New Alliance)

Marketing Chickpea and Lentil in Nebraska (Brian Jelinek, JCC Alliance)

Fenugreek (Norm O’Dell, farmer at Alliance)

The conference will wrap up with a panel discussion, and at 2 p.m. participants can join a tour of the pea splitting facility at New Alliance plant in Bridgeport.