|Cool Season & Food Legume Programs - Winter Legume|
Cool-season food legume production is not economically competitive with other crop enterprises in the northwester United States, due to low yield potential and low net returns, compared with cereal grains. The future existence of the US pulse crop industry in the northwest region remains perilous unless a coordinated strategy is adopted to increase the yield competitiveness of pulse crops with winter wheat. Similar to winter wheat, winter grain legumes are well adapted to the spring precipitation pattern for this semiarid region. The most effective way to increase pulse crop production would be to focus on the development of production systems for winter types of dry pea and lentil, where a 50% increase in yield over spring types has been observed. The proposed research will evaluate two winter hardy pea and two winter hardy lentil lines sown on dates considered early and late in the fall and into stubble cut at three heights. A separate sowing of spring type pea and lentil will be made to provide an indication of the overall yield advantage gained from winter sowing. Numerous morphological and phonological data will be collected along with weather data and tissue analysis to understand crop adaptation. The anticipated impact of successful winter legume production systems will be critical to the future viability of the cool season food legume industry in the northwestern United States. Quite literally, this research advancement may be the difference between life and death for the once proud pulse industry of this region.