Many Montanans have never seen a field of peas, lentils, or chickpeas. Until recently these crops were grown primarily in northeastern Montana. Acreage in the Golden Triangle region of Montana increased to nearly 100,000 acres in 2011, however, and other areas of Montana also have seen recent jumps in pulse crop acreage.
Maps created by the Montana Department of Agriculture using the USDA Cropland Data Layer show where farmers planted peas, lentils, chickpeas, and dry beans in 2011 and 2010. The maps are based on interpretation of satellite imagery. While the interpretations are not perfect -- in some instances fields planted in peas were interpreted to be barley -- they are reasonably accurate.
The maps were created to help the department improve its understanding of pulse crop production in Montana and to show farmers interested in rotation crops the proximity of pea, lentil or chickpea fields to their operation.
The department hopes farmers can use the maps to help connect and learn from each other's experience, says Chad Lee, business development officer. The maps also can enhance buyers’ understanding of pulse production in Montana, helping to maintain a strong marketplace.
The field maps can be downloaded from the department website at: http://agr.mt.gov/agr/Producer/PulseCrops/. For additional information, contact Chad Lee at (406) 444-2402 or by email at ChLee@mt.gov.
Published: June 11, 2012 4:20:00 PM MDT.
Last Modified: June 11, 2012 4:23:10 PM MDT